Apple Looking at Solar Power Converters

By Daniel Starkey

Getting “green” is going to be one of the tech trends that defines the next generation of hardware. As more customers are getting power conscious, the race is on to maximize performance and cut down on power consumption – especially for portable devices where the ability to run all day on a charge can make or break an entire product line.

That in mind, the U.S. Patent office has published a patent application from Apple Inc. titled “Power management systems for accepting adapter and solar power in electronic devices.” In short, it details a mechanism that would allow solar power to be put into a device directly, without the need for a secondary converter. This basically would act as a power supply in a desktop does and directly scales the electrical input to the proper voltage and amperage to help ensure compatibility.

From the patent: “The power management system includes a system microcontroller (SMC) and a charger. During operation, the power management system accepts power from at least one of a power adapter and a solar panel. Next, the power management system supplies the power to components in the electronic device without using a converter circuit between the solar panel and the power management system.”

If the patent is awarded, hopefully Apple will spread the love around, because having a cheaper, streamlined system for charging my stuff would be awesome.


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