Apple's iPhone 6 Could Be Solar-Powered
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) next-generation iPhone might offer an innovative charging feature that could greatly extend the device's mobility.
Current iPhones must be charged by plugging them into a wall outlet or a docking station (which is plugged into the wall). Car adapters can be purchased, but the device must still be tethered before power will be restored.
Wireless chargers have attempted to remedy this issue, but existing charging solutions have a very short range. Consequently, consumers must typically place their wireless devices on top of a charging plate in order to rejuvenate the battery.
If Apple is successful in developing its latest patent into a full-fledged product, however, the company could soon offer an iPhone that can be charged virtually anywhere.
According to AppleInsider, the patent describes a method in which an Apple product could be plugged into a solar panel when it needs to be charged. The company is working on a method to convert the power into the specific DC (direct current) voltages that are required by iPhones and MacBooks. If successful, the company could feasibly sell solar chargers alongside future iDevices -- or allow them to be supported by third-party solar chargers.
This would not create the wireless charging experience that some consumers desire. In order to pull that off, Apple would need to build solar panels right into its devices. However, existing technology is too limited (too heavy, too bulky, too expensive) for smartphones and tablets.
Apple's solution is a bit more reasonable -- and more realistic.
Samsung Got There First
Apple definitely won't be suing Samsung (OTC: SSNLF) over this patent.
The South Korean tech giant has already released a solar-powered handset.
Other manufacturers have done the same, but if CNET's critique is any indication, the existing products are not very good.
By developing a solar-powered smartphone of its own, Apple would have the chance to change another industry -- just as it did when the first-generation iPhone and iPad were released.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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