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Clean Power Apple thin films solar job posting

Published on September 23rd, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Apple Looking To Solarize The iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch?

Originally published on Solar Love.

Apple recently posted a job announcement for a thin films engineer for its mobile devices division, making some people think that the mobile giant might be looking to develop some solar-powered devices.

Surely, if the price is right, extending the life of a person’s iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch would be very positively received by consumers.

The job announcement specifically targeted people with ”extensive experience with thin-film technologies in either semiconductor processing or solar industries” in order to “assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronic systems.”

Furthermore, “knowledge of thin-films in the context of RF shielding is highly desirable,” the announcement (no longer posted on Apple’s website) stated.

Of course, Apple has already delved into solar power a bit in other ways. Here are a few stories about that:

“Apple’s data centres are 100% powered by renewables, that’s not buying credits, that’s additional new power that is often directly Apple owned, if not with direct contracts [that's] direct access to power from the sun, hydro, geothermal and wind,” former US EPA administrator and current environmental director at Apple Lisa Jackson notes.

“It’s the largest non-utility solar array we think anywhere in the US and it’s backed up by fuel cells which run on biogas.”

9To5Mac has more details on the job application and related patent requests:

Apple thin films solar job posting

Back in 2011, new Apple patents surfaced related to solar applications for consumer products and just this year a patent application detailed a method of integrating a touch sensor and a solar assembly into the display of a mobile product like an iPhone.

Solar technology could also have major benefits for Apple’s watch product currently being developed by a team of Apple executives, sensor, and fitness experts. A patent application from Apple earlier this year showed a wrist watch form factor that could utilize a built-in solar array as an additional power source for the device’s battery. Charging and battery life has been a hurdle for current smart watches on the market that often require charging everyday, and smart watches with longer battery life are often much thicker than a traditional wristwatch as a result of a larger battery.

Companies are already testing similar applications to integrate solar technology into a smartphone display in order to extend battery life, although there has yet to be a large manufacturer to implement a solar panel into a flagship smartphone or tablet.

I’m sure it will happen someday. We’ll see how long it takes.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • JamesWimberley

    ARM, the British company that designs most of the low-power processors embedded in everything from thermostats to cellphones, is already planning chips for sensors that won´t need a specific energy supply at all, but will harvest ambient electromagnetic waves. Source: ~
    Cellphones will still need batteries and chargers for some time to come.

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