Apple bags patent for solar-powered devices

Apple has reportedly been awarded a patent for solar-powered devices, which indicates that the Cupertino-based technology giant could start offering a new range of eco-friendly iPhones and iPads, with longer battery life.

The patent number 7,868,582 was granted by the US Patent & Trademark Office, which originally received an application for the patent in February 2009.

The patent for solar-powered devices indicates that Apple is interested in developing its own solar technology. Apple already has three patents related to solar-powered devices.

Apple's existing mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, would benefit from any potential device that would be able to recharge a battery when a wall outlet is not readily available.

According to the filing, the potential solar power charging device could be used to charge "a media player, a notebook computer, a tablet computer, a cellular phone, an image processing device, and a handheld computing device."

However, Apple will not be first to offer such a device. A few days earlier, Dexim used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to unveil a charger that features two solar panels which feed a battery. It is the battery in the device, and not the solar panels that charge a plugged-in device.