Looking for a solar-powered iPhone or iPod? Don’t waste your time searching, because you won’t find it anytime soon. According to CrunchGear, while Apple has applied for a patent on solar cells for small media devices, the next iPod will not be equipped with solar panels.
The announcement comes just a few weeks before Macworld 2010, where the company will be showcasing hundreds of Mac products and services, as well as software that is used with Apple’s products.
There are mixed thoughts about incorporating solar cells with electronics. On the one hand, it would allow for an alternative source of power for the devices, and from sketches released by Apple, the cells would be underneath the screen so as not to take away from the limited space available.
But solar cells are such a new technology that there aren’t any established recycling programs. It also requires additional chemicals used to make the photovolatics that produce solar power, which can be toxic in landfills.
Factor in that the EPA estimates an average cell phone has a life cycle of 18 months, and the expected 20-year life cycle of a solar panel becomes greatly reduced.
Even if the device itself isn’t solar powered, you can still use solar power to generate the charge. One option is a solar backpack, with plugs to charge hand-held electronics and all power provided by the sun.
In tests, one hour of sun exposure generated enough power for 3.5 hours of iPod use.
If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, check out iRecycle® for on-the-go recycling information courtesy of Earth911.