Solar-powered iPhone on the way?

Looks like Apple might be discovering its eco conscience. Boffins at the Cupertino giant’s HQ have just filed a patent for integrating solar pan

Looks like Apple might be discovering its eco conscience. Boffins at the Cupertino giant’s HQ have just filed a patent for integrating solar panels into its portable gizmos.

How can it patent a technology that already exists on a gazillion solar chargers, like the Solio solar charger, you ask?

Well, Apple’s idea is slightly different. Fitting solar panels onto a small device like the iPhone without ruining its looks and usability would be nigh-on impossible, so its idea is to stack the sun-loving cells underneath the LCD touchscreen. With a 3.5in display, the iPhone is suddenly a great candidate for the technology.

The patent, unearthed by Macrumors, mentions that the amount of juice soaked up from the sun could then be displayed next to information on the battery life, suggesting that it would merely be a back-up to a Lithium Ion battery rather than a replacement.

Still, with 3G web surfing, video-playing and phone calls to handle, the iPhone should take all the help it can get.