• 4th Gen iPhone May Be Last Without Solar Capacity

    Tomorrow, Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the 4th generation iPhone before a sold-out crowd at the kick-off of the 2010 WWDC. At the big reveal, be sure to take a close look. It may, in fact, be the last new iPhone that ever debuts without some solar-power capacity.

    Rumors have abounded for months (if not years) that Apple would "soon" develop a fully solar-powered handset. Needless to say, that's a reality we may not see for several more years (if ever). But it's evident that Apple, in the very near future, may incorporate some solar powered components into subsequent generations of iPhones, iPods, and even iPads.

    A recent flurry of patent filings depict the placement of solar cells on portable iDevices. In last few days, in fact, we've even discovered that Apple is tinkering with touch sensor integrated solar panels, a development that could bring solar power to iPhones sooner than anyone may presently expect. Just as the patent-related clues foretold the arrival of the once "mythical" unnamed tablet that became the iPad, Apple has designs on solar-power integration.

    Many environmentally-conscious gadget gurus are cautiously optimistic that the 5th generation iPhone will have Apple "completely covering the device in a thin film layer of solar cells," including the display. The market for green mobile technologies is heating up at a rapid pace. And Apple is acutely aware of it, along with myriad competitors in the smartphone space - like Motorola, a company that has similarly toyed with the prospect of "fusing solar cells with LCDs."

    In recent weeks, environmental activists have called on Apple to participate in the green movement to a considerably more active degree - some have even demanded that Apple should "donate" to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf. But while Apple alone certainly can't pacify all the world's environmental concerns, it appears that won't stop Cupertino from taking steps - no matter how small - to make iDevices as green as they are commonplace.

    Image via Patently Apple
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