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Apple "Evaluating" Solar-Powered iPhones, Says Report

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It's a little known fact, but apparently, the sun is good for many more things than just making NY subway platforms in the summer some of the most hellish environments in existence. Supposedly, the sun can be utilized as a source of energy!

No, it's true! No coal or oil necessary!

And Digitimes reports that Apple and Samsung are looking into the technology to power -- or assist in powering -- their future products. According to Digitimes' sources, Apple in particular is said to be considering the "inclusion of Taiwan-based solar firms in [its] supply chain." So the company may, in fact, be passed the "evaluation stage" and is dipping its toe into the "testing stage."

The bad news is that the technology in miniature solar panels needs more development before they're slapped onto iPhone 5 devices en masse. The site reports:

"However, according to Taiwan-based solar firms, these niche markets will need a longer time to develop. Samsung's solar-powered netbook adopts a unique sized solar cell, added industry sources, and the number of solar cells used is less than rooftop solar systems, hence it is unlikely for solar-powered consumer products to form a solid market in the short term."

In other words, iPhone and Android devices need a tad more power than your solar paneled scientific calculator from 6th grade.

But as 9to5Mac notes, this wouldn't be the first mention of Apple's interest in solar power for its handheld devices. The company filed such a patent in early 2009.

Also, earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal indicated that next year's iPhone model will feature a "new way of charging the phone." Although early speculation pointed to wireless inductive charging -- like HP's TouchPad tablet -- 9to5Mac hints that Apple may not be limiting itself to just one new method.

Hopefully, for both users and the environment, the company is looking "up."

(See also: Is Apple Ditching iPhone Wires Completely? and Apple's Steve Jobs Mocked by Taiwan's Infamous CGI)

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