Will the iPhone6 be solar-powered?
Rumors, patents, and factory production orders seem to indicate that Apple is eying a sun-charged device.
Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Your next iPhone could recharge itself by absorbing sunlight -- if a new rumor turns out to be true. A fresh tip suggests that the iPhone 6 could feature solar charging capabilities and a sapphire glass display.
This solar charging functionality would be part of an effort to extend the iPhone’s battery life, according to Seeking Alpha’s Matt Margolis. The analyst predicts that Apple will implement a sapphire glass screen embedded with solar cells which could be produced in the company’s Arizona-based plant. [iPhone 6 Rumors: Inside Apple's Next Big Thing]
There’s no telling whether or not we’ll see a sapphire glass solar-charged iPhone in the future, but there are certain clues to support this notion. Back in September, the iPhone-maker posted a job listing for an engineer with solar industry experience to work on its mobile devices. The company also announced a $578 million partnership with mineral crystal specialist GT Advanced Technologies in November, adding to speculation that a sapphire glass display iPhone is in the works. Also, at the end of October the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent for a power management system that uses the sun’s rays to operate iOS and Mac devices.
Prototypes of an iPhone sporting a sapphire glass display could already be in production, according to PhoneArena. The tech blog reports that a Foxconn factory in Shenzen has assembled 100 prototypes of a next-generation iPhone that swaps out Gorilla Glass for a sapphire glass display.
Sapphire glass is said to be about three times as durable as Corning Gorilla Glass, which is commonly used on many of today’s flagship smartphones. Displays based on sapphire glass are still too expensive to be implemented on a commercial scale, and until now the technology has been primarily used in aerospace, military and medical devices.
The addition of a sapphire glass display on the iPhone could make a lot of sense for Apple. Competitors such as Samsung and LG are taking the curved display route to keep their smartphone screens more durable while simultaneously introducing a new, innovative design. The sapphire glass display could be Apple’s approach at achieving similar functionality for the iPhone.
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