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.
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.
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