Solar-Powered Laptop with Dual-Sided Display Detailed in Apple Patent

Apple has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider) detailing an "electronic device display module" for a laptop that would include the ability to act as a secondary rear display featuring touch controls. The patent also details a photovoltaic system located in the display unit which could power the device with solar energy.

apple_solarpowered_macbook_1
The patent, which was originally filed in 2012, details a portable computer that would encompass both upper and lower housings, consisting of materials such as metal, ceramic, carbon fiber, and glass. The rear housing of the computer would feature a logo similar to Apple's current line of MacBooks, but would be made of a patterned ink layer instead of a plastic material.

The electrochromic glass that could be integrated into the rear display is also detailed, as the glass would receive signals from light sources with the ability make itself opaque or translucent depending on user input. In theory, this would allow the rear display to remain hidden from view when not in use, which would assist in preserving battery life and privacy.

The display may be controlled using timing and control circuitry on a display driver board. The driver board may be mounted within a clutch barrel that contains the hinges. The driver board may be mounted within the clutch barrel so that it lies perpendicular to the plane of the display or may be oriented at other orientations such as orientations that are within plus or minus 10.degree. or 20.degree. from perpendicular, orientations that are parallel to the plane of the display, or other orientations.

apple_solarpowered_macbook_22
Furthermore, Apple also proposes that the computer include photovoltaic cells located under the rear panel, with the cells producing power when activated by an external light source. The cells could also have the option to store the power or use it immediately, and would receive energy from light when the display and electrochromic glass are in the translucent mode. apple_solarpowered_macbook_3
Lastly, the touch controls found on the rear display would allow the user to do a number of things, including the ability to input passcodes, control media playback, and unlock the magnetic latch of the computer by touching a certain region. The patent also states that the touch sensors may include capacitive, acoustic, optical, or pressure-sensitive properties to allow different methods of input, and could be located on a centralized rear structure.

It is unknown whether Apple plans to create such a product or not, but the company has researched similar technology before. A patent in August 2012 detailed significantly enhanced iPad Smart Covers with secondary displays and solar cells, and a patent in 2008 showed the company's interest in producing solar LCD powered iPods, iPhones, and laptops.

Other reports on Apple's interest in solar-powered devices have also popped up on numerous occasion throughout the years, though it is unclear as to whether Apple is ready to make a serious attempt at integrating the technology into its products or is still focused solely on researching methods.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

Santabean2000 Avatar
91 months ago
I'm surprised that solar power has not featured more heavily in mobile device design already. The time is now, surely.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
91 months ago
Introducing the Mactendo DS Book!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
osx11 Avatar
91 months ago

Oh god if Apple goes the tablet/laptop-in-one route, I will lose all my faith for the company. Tablet/laptops are probably the most "useless" invention in the field of computing since netbooks!


Relax! Seriously!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wuiffi Avatar
91 months ago
I am not an expert in solar power, but I would guess that the gain would be minimal (who is operating his device next to a light source?)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Stella Avatar
91 months ago
A product that will never see the light of day.

Two screens? Too complex for the average user.too much battery drain. Solar power won't keep this thing going.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
whooleytoo Avatar
91 months ago

A product that will never see the light of day.

Two screens? Too complex for the average user.too much battery drain. Solar power won't keep this thing going.


Bravo!! :p
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...