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Analyst expects Apple to embed solar cells in new sapphire glass displays

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Analyst expects Apple to embed solar cells in new sapphire glass displays
Analyst Matt Margolis expects Apple to enhance battery life on the Apple iPhone 6 with the use of energy from the sun. Margolis believes that the sapphire glass screens rolling off the assembly line at the company's new plant in Arizona, will be embedded with solar cells. He reaches that conclusion from a number of different events including a patent received by Apple back in February 2013. That patent covered the use of an integrated touch sensor and solar panel. The patent however, did not include a way to send the power gathered from the sun to the battery used on the device.

A follow up patent from last October for a solar touch screen panel, came with a power management system that can accept power from a solar panel. Other events pointed out by the analyst include a job opening Apple posted and filled for a Thin Films Engineer position with solar experience (emphasis ours). That was followed by the agreement signed with GT Advanced Technologies for sapphire cover screens. After that, Apple announced that it would spend $10.5 billion in capital expenditures in fiscal year 2014, some of which could be used to buy "cutting edge" lasers which would be employed in the "scribing" of microchannels on the solar cells. The Cupertino based tech titan also posted that the company is looking for a Manufacturing Design Engineer. The position includes "scribing" and PVD coating which is used with thin films like solar cells. And lastly, Foxconn is rumored to have produced 100 iPhone prototypes using sapphire glass.

Will this all add up to solar cells extending the life of the battery on the Apple iPhone 6? The focus on sapphire does seem to indicate that Apple will have some new innovations inside upcoming devices. As the second hardest material on earth after diamonds, sapphire can protect the intricate electronics needed for new features. And these new features and capabilities will also require more power, which can be harvested from solar cells embedded in a sapphire glass. It's the circle of battery life.

source: SeekingAlpha via Forbes

45 Comments
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posted on 26 Jan 2014, 18:28 8

1. mr.techdude (Posts: 551; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


That would be great

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:39 3

29. akki20892 (Posts: 3555; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


Analyst except? Don't believe it's gonna happen.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:42 2

30. akki20892 (Posts: 3555; Member since: 04 Feb 2013)


And Some days ago rumor has tell us that next Nokia lumia gonna have solar screen charging tech. And I know Nokia have been working on this. I trust Nokia.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 22:03 1

32. Sauce (unregistered)


Built in solar cell talk has been around with Apple for quite some time. Ideas just dont get thought of and shat out into a product. It takes time to make sure that it will work and a product will succeed. This goes for every company, like Samsung, Nokia, and even others like McDonalds. It took 4 years for the Blueberry Pomegranite Smoothy to hit public menus. You should part from your "fanboy" ways and accept and more importantly, understand, WHY and HOW companies like Samsung, McDonalds, and Apple succeed at such great heights.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 18:35 8

2. UglyFrank (Posts: 440; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


This is actually real innovation finally.

I'm an android dude but I have an iPad air.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:25 1

27. androiphone20 (Posts: 1472; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


This is what I call raising the bar!

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 18:37 8

3. nctx77 (Posts: 534; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Samsung just $h****in its pants lol! They are hard at work trying to copy a finger print scanner, metal body, 64 bit processor, now this. Sammy just focus on the emerging markets...it over!

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 22:08 5

33. evarod48 (Posts: 139; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)


wait... didn't samsung have a finger print scanner before the iphone?? that's right you're an idiot.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 23:22

34. Volcra (Posts: 20; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


What if I told you, Samsung made the 64bit processor for Apple?

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 00:25 2

37. ardent1 (Posts: 1997; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


What if I told you Apple helped make Samsung a powerhouse in flash memory and that Apple also helped provide the financing that Samsung desperately needed at the time to expand its flash memory capacity.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 05:47

41. Augustine (Posts: 733; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Do tell more details, please.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 11:18

42. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6579; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


May I remind you it was Motorola who had the finger sensor first then apple purchase the company who produce the technology

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 18:48

4. teja171 (unregistered)


New invention from Apple ? OMG , i cant believe this(delude).I think it will never happen.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 18:51 1

5. TechDork (Posts: 238; Member since: 10 May 2010)


Apple isn't playing this time around. But, of course, we'll see when it's time for the keynote. If this really goes into effect..............competition is going to get real.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 18:58 5

6. darkkjedii (Posts: 11855; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Apple is on a mission this year, can't wait for the 2014 lineup. Camping out again this year, bring it papa jedii apple. My bad Smurf, daddy jedii lol.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:02 2

7. igorb81 (Posts: 29; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Just another gimmick from Apple. My phone spends 90% of the time in my pocket so this would be pretty worthless "innovation" not to mention I will believe it when I see it. I have low expectations on the iPhone 6. Probably just slightly larger screen to compete with more powerful phones of last year. I would not even consider a phone with less than 5" display these days. I am perfectly happy with my S4 but I can certainly see myself using Note 3 but for anything larger that's when my Note 10.1 comes in.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:19 5

8. nctx77 (Posts: 534; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Oh, so that eye tracking is coming in real handy huh? If your phone is in your pocket 90% of the time, then I'm assuming you don't have a problem with battery life lol! Think about it, your phone can charge while laying on the table at the office or school, etc. not to mention if your stranded or something and your phone dies. It's all kinds of ways this could be useful. It doesn't have to completely charge your phone, it could just keep it charged enough to not run out.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:27 1

9. igorb81 (Posts: 29; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I doubt my office light would produce make any difference with this tech. I could be wrong but I think you need the actual sunlight to make any noticeable difference. A lot of eye tracking features are somewhat gimmicky but could be useful at times. I wouldn't boast about them still not bad to have them if I need them. Smart stay is pretty useful in my experience along with smart pause.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:49 3

16. nctx77 (Posts: 534; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


You ever heard of a solar powered calculator? Surely what Apple will use would be more advanced but you get the idea. It will more than likely be a trickle charge or enough charge to maintain the battery. It will not be used to completely charge the phone. Oh I forgot to mention this would also be great for an iwatch.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:00

24. igorb81 (Posts: 29; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I have to agree that this could benefit the watch more. +1 I forgot about the iwatch that just can't make it to the market. It better be polished after all this time.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:35

10. darkkjedii (Posts: 11855; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Post #9 is the gold standard of double standards nctx77 +1

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:49

15. igorb81 (Posts: 29; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I am not defending Samsung in any way and I am certainly not a blind follower of any particular brand. I have used a lot of different phones and have no allegiance to any particular company unlike many here. It's just lately no one seems to meet my needs as good as Samsung does. It's just so happens that their products are a perfect match for my needs and wants. If another company matches those needs and Samsung happens to slip then our relationship is over. Just like that...

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 23:37

35. Augustine (Posts: 733; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


If I'm in the office, I avoid taking it out of my pocket, lest I forget it. But if it is on my desk, I might as well plug it into the computer's USB to recharge.

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 10:43

45. Augustine (Posts: 733; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Actually, there's one situation with potentially a lot of light that solar cells could charge the battery noticeably: on the dashboard of a car during commute.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:42 2

11. darkkjedii (Posts: 11855; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


How can you be happy with your phone spending 90% of the time in your pocket. I know you typed this just to dis apple like the rest of the iHater android fanboys do, it your post makes no sense. "my phone spends 90% of the time in my pocket". Why invest in a top notch device like the s4 p, and not really use it? Sounds kinda hmmmmmmm...

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:56 1

17. igorb81 (Posts: 29; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I did not calculate exact math on my usage but it's true I don't use my phone as much as an average user. I just use it when I need to. I work for 8 hours a day and my phone is in my pocket most of the day while I work on my work computer then I have life after work. So yeah...

True I don't have any problems with battery life on any of my phones. They typically last me for about 2 days.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 20:04

18. darkkjedii (Posts: 11855; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


K... We all have our usage patterns.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:45 1

12. bucky (Posts: 1502; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Lol the guy with the s4 is talking about gimmicks...now I have seen it all.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:46 2

13. bucky (Posts: 1502; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Oops. Not you dark. Meant for igorb

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 19:47 1

14. bucky (Posts: 1502; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Oops again. Not you either igorb.

I failed miserably with the reply button :/

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 20:05

19. darkkjedii (Posts: 11855; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


I gotcha bucky +1

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 20:09 1

20. gilbert1029 (Posts: 14; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


I absolutely hate apple and it's ecosystem but if all the rumors are true I may have to trade in my new HTC one. For once apple may actually be making a good product!

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 20:23

21. nctx77 (Posts: 534; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Browsing tents online....I'm going camping baby!

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 20:25 3

22. NoFanboy (Posts: 226; Member since: 18 Nov 2013)


Darkjedi I always read your posts and agree with what you say. Thanks for not being biased

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 05:16

40. darkkjedii (Posts: 11855; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


Thanx for noticing bro +1. When you call it like you see it, people get all bent outta shape. No need for that.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 20:28

23. nctx77 (Posts: 534; Member since: 03 Sep 2013)


Wait I just thought about something. What if the cells in the glass use the light from the screen to charge the phone? Now that's what I call recycling!!

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:22

25. androiphone20 (Posts: 1472; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


I remember someone coming up with an idea close to this in a forum when the patent came back in October, it didn't sound that much of a big deal as it is now. I can't wait

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:23

26. Vanster (Posts: 124; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)


thats good, but who do want to sunbathe their phone? Im not

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:31

28. ckoch125 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Hopefully they also beef up the battery and not just rely on this.

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 21:43

31. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 407; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)


This probably wouldn't drastically improve the battery life but it would definitely lead to better screen time... Would also be great for a smart watch or durable waterproof device aimed at more active customers spending a lot of time outdoors.

That being said if Apple makes the iPhone 6 the same thickness as the 4s in order to fit a much larger battery it would be less marketable but far more effective, as well as fitting in with Apple's apparent opposition to "rampant technology for technology's sake."

posted on 26 Jan 2014, 23:42

36. Augustine (Posts: 733; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)


Maybe Apple might use sapphire glass for the same reason that it's used in the watch industry: it's hard to scratch and break.

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 00:47

38. fireblade (Posts: 708; Member since: 27 Dec 2013)


sounds fake

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 03:07

39. strikercho (banned) (Posts: 156; Member since: 20 Mar 2012)


With this in the new iPhone, the new iSight camera, the new paying system, the fingerprint sesor, the 64-bit power - yes! Apple rocks! I'm in for the quest!

posted on 27 Jan 2014, 13:05

43. GrndsKeeprWillie (Posts: 14; Member since: 15 Jul 2013)


Still waiting for that Liquid Metal body too. Analyze that

posted on 28 Jan 2014, 00:17

44. nlbates66 (Posts: 303; Member since: 15 Aug 2012)


sapphire glass sure, but with solar cells? perhaps not until at least after the next iPhone release, Apple wouldn't try that kind of thing unless/until they could make absolutely certain it didn't degrade display clarity.

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