We all know the things that Apple has done to keep a green image. For example, they’ve removed various toxic chemicals from their products such as: lead, chromium, cadmium, Decabromodiphenyl Ether, arsenic, and mercury – all of which are known carcinogens. Besides this, Apple has also been recycling their e-waste since 1994 and currently operate recycling programs where 84 percent of their products are recycled. Now they are looking to improve their front end by patenting a solar-powered iPhone.
The iPhone is one of the most popular phones in the US selling around 14.1 million units in 2010 alone. With their history of being green and innovative, it comes as no surprise that Apple is not only introducing a solar powered phone, but also one that approaches solar cells from a different angle.
Current solar powered mobiles place these solar cells either on the sides or back of the phone. Apple’s energy collection cells will be placed inside of the phone underneath the touch screen, made possible by Apple’s switch to a non-metal backside substrate. This allows Apple to implement a double-sided solar panel design and double the amount of power that the cells could draw.
While the solar-powered iPhone won’t be hitting the shelves anytime soon, there are some great other alternatives for the eco-geek. Novothink has the Solar Surge charger which uses the sun to charge an external supplemental battery enclosed in a nifty case. Two hours of sunlight allows for twenty minutes of talk time. The case also comes with an iPhone app and calculator that shows how much sun is needed for other uses. If it’s cloudy and windy, another great option for an environmentally friendly charge is the iFan. The iFan is made of rubber and resists jolts and can also charge the iPhone battery after being doused with water. Unfortunately, it takes six hours to charge and is currently only a concept.