Image via Crunchgear
The other day we caught word that Apple had filed a patent for a greenish feature on new iPods - solar panels. We talk about solar panels on gadgets often, with two main problems surfacing every time that take the steam out of this off-grid charging feature. First, who leaves their device just sitting in the sun? Second, how much more embodied energy and e-waste does that add to a device for a minimal return on the capabilities of that device? No one gets as enthusiastic about embedded solar cells as they do about external solar cells like the new solar skin for iPhones and iTouch devices. Well, Apple is certainly paying attention to what consumers want when it comes to novelty solar, and we know the company is always thinking about how to make iPods greener, but does that mean a new iPod device with solar charging?
Rumor. Crunchgear confirmed that it's just a rumor - Apple won't be adding a solar powered casing to iPods.
Is this a good thing? Probably for now. Beyond the two issues mentioned earlier, there's also the issue of how scratches would degrade the charging capabilities, making the device ever less efficient at gathering energy from available sunlight, how something like this would impact the recyclability of a device, and of course, how it would impact the price.
It doesn't seem like the technology is quite good enough for a perfectionist company like Apple to hop on board. But that doesn't mean we won't hear word about this again in the future.