Apple notes that integrating the touch sensors and solar cell layers into the same panel maximizes the use of surface area on smaller devices like a mobile phone.
This relates to integrated touch sensor and solar panel stack-up configurations that may be used on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices such as a media player or phone. The stack-up configurations may include one or more touch sensor layers and one or more solar cell layers. By integrating both the touch sensors and the solar cell layers into the same stack-up, surface area on the portable device may be conserved.
Apple details various methods of integrating the solar panel, for example:
A flexible touch sensor and solar panel configuration may be formed by using a flexible single layer ITO (SITO) substrate and including a flexible polymer solar cell panel. The SITO substrate may be made out of any transparent flexible material, for example, polyamide or other plastic. The solar panel may be mounted face down or otherwise obstructed by a touch sensor or other component. In this configuration, the device may include light channels that allow light into the device and direct the light around the component and to the solar panel. A parabolic reflector may be used to direct the light.
Notably, in January, Matt Margolis predicted that Apple not only plans to use sapphire glass for the iPhone 6 but that the sapphire glass will also function as a solar charging panel for the device. He believes that Apple ordered solar cell coating equipment from Manz AG to scribe solar cells onto sapphire glass screens for its upcoming smartphone. More details here.
While it's certainly possible that Apple could use this technology for the iPhone 6, solar power would likely be able to give only a small boost to the iPhone's battery life and wouldn't replace the need for traditional charging.
Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for updates.
Read More [via AppleInsider]