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Apple Looking at Solar Power Converters

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.

  • lockhrt999
    I think google came up with this first for their data center in iceland (?). They made generators to produce right amount of DC voltage which directly power PC components like mobo proc without any need for SMPS.
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  • Grandmastersexsay
    Going green was a fad that is slowly dying out. As more people realize the absurdity of man made global warming, and that the extreme premiums of green technology are not offset by the small energy savings, more people become disenchanted with the notion of green technology. More and more people are getting tired of their hard earned income going to tax dollars that subsidize failing green technologies.

    "Getting "green" is going to be one of the tech trends that defines the next generation of hardware."

    Talk about being out of touch with reality.
    Reply
  • Jgriff
    "So-called “global warming” is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it!"

    To the poster above, make no mistake. Scientist have found dozens of ways to make the WHOLE WORLD energy efficient. The problem is not that it doesn't work but it's how these greedy lobbyist can sell it $$$$$$ it's all about the money. And gas is big money right now.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    Sounds like Apple is patenting a power management design that can source external input power from either the DC adapter or solar panel.

    If you want the most power out of a given solar panel, you need power-point-tracking technology which means some form of DC-DC conversion between the panel's output and the load(s), be it stand-alone or integrated in the power management IC.

    I'm guessing Apple's patent is simply about skipping the intermediate solar-to-battery voltage conversion.
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  • fleeb
    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.
    Right.
    Reply
  • True-Value
    In Australia, solar seems to not be a mature product, given simple house installs get botched with little recourse for homeowners, meaning no true value in solar:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7qa6TVkoI0M+W group
    Reply
  • natoco
    Global warming is happening, just check out (chasing ice) movie of all the glaciers around the world melting and the pictures that prove it you fools. The whole science community agrees on this and its only the general public that seem to think in there infinite wisdom without any facts knows better. its such a shame. Anything that stops carbon going into our air we all breath is better. Stop being selfish and naïve.
    Reply
  • guvnaguy
    Who would hold their smartphone in the sunlight long enough to charge it?
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  • Avus
    All the money you saved from the solar charging probably go toward Apple's special cable and adapter...
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    So, when are we all going to get sued by Apple for absorbing sunlight after they decide to patent it?
    Reply