Apple Granted Patent For Solar-Powered MacBooks

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Apple may be moving towards solar for a future line of MacBooks.

PV Magazine notes the tech giant won approval from the US Patent and Trademark office last week to add a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel enclosed within the MacBook’s lid. This could serve as the power base in Apple’s forthcoming chain of eco-friendly laptops.

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Image Credit:Apple Store in Michigan via WikiComons

Apple would not be the first company to test the waters of solar-powered computing. It’s arch nemesis in the mobile phone industry, Samsung, rushed out of the gates in 2011 releasing the Samsung NC215S netbook. It was a first of its kind portable computer to run on solar energy. Initially at a cost of $399, the device, once fully charged, could be run on fourteen hours of battery life.

While Apple has not given specifics on pricing or battery power for prospective solar-powered MacBooks, current costs and battery life of models now available can give some idea what to expect.

MacBook Air, a thinner version of the MacBook, is available between $999 and $1099. MacBook Pro, costs around $1,299 to $1,999. You can likely expect a solar-powered MacBook, for around the same price or slightly higher.

As for battery power, an 11-inch MacBook Air, can run fully charged for nine hours, while a 13-inch version can run twelve hours uninterrupted. The challenge is for Apple to find a way to increase battery efficiency from a PV charging system. Samsung’s NC2158S netbook gets one hour of battery life from two hours of sun power. This is something Apple could look to improve on for its own brand of solar-powered computers.

If Apple addresses concerns of high priced PV-based MacBooks, while improving battery efficiency, the company Steve Jobs built thirty years ago may do the same for solar computing as they have done for computers, mobile phones, and tablets.

Watch out for the most current solar power news by keeping a pulse on our solar power category or even subscribing to our free solar power newsletter.

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Adam Johnston

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

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3 thoughts on “Apple Granted Patent For Solar-Powered MacBooks

  • What is patentable about a solar powered electronic device? Those things have existed since decades. I believe it started with calculators. A macbook is nothing more than a very, very fancy great-great-great-grandchild of those first primitve calculators.

  • This is a very good news for PV industry in total, because Apple will definitely invest good R&D for better performance of their products or buy the company which does it.

  • So how long will one need to leave their laptop out on the park bench to charge the batteries?

    What’s the recovery plan?

Comments are closed.