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Apple to Release iPhone 6 With Sapphire Glass Solar Power Panel in 2014? [Analyst]

Apple to Release iPhone 6 With Sapphire Glass Solar Power Panel in 2014? [Analyst]

Posted January 28, 2014 at 10:52pm by iClarified
A new report suggests 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.

On Seeking Alpha, Matt Margolis details the evidence for what could be a ground breaking new feature.

In February 2013, Apple filed a patent for an integrated touch sensor and solar assembly. The patent reads:

Integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations that may be used on portable devices, particularly handheld portable devices such as a media player or phone are disclosed. The integrated touch sensor array and solar cell stack-ups may include electrodes that are used both for collecting solar energy and for sensing on a touch sensor array. 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. In addition to being used for capacitive sensing, the integrated touch sensor and solar panel configurations may also be used for optical sensing.

Margolis notes that the invention outlined required a "boost converter" that would allow the solar cell to convert its energy directly into the device's battery. Unfortunately, the "boost converter" would likely take up too much space to be put inside the iPhone.

In September 2013, Apple posted a job opening for a "Thin Films Engineer" who had extensive experience with thin-film technologies in either semiconductor processing or solar industries.

Then in October 31, 2013, Apple was granted a new solar touch screen patent that would allow Apple to power a device, without the need of a "boost converter". This patent was a significant improvement on the February 2013 patent. Apple actually states that "the electronic devices that will be able to take advantage of Apple's new solar panel include a MacBook, iPad, iPod touch and iPhone."

In November 2013, a partnership was announced with GT Advanced Technologies to open a Sapphire Materials facility in Mesa, AZ. Last week Apple began posting jobs openings for the Mesa location. Margolis took a closer look at the focus areas of those jobs and found that one focus area was on Physical Vapor Deposition. PVD is a method to deposit thin films by the condensation of a vaporized form of material onto surfaces. Another focus area was glass scribing. Margolis did some sleuthing and discovered that scribing is a process used to place ultra-thin film solar cells onto glass. Additionally, he learned that ultra thin film solar cells are typically "scribed" onto glass via expensive lasers.

Apple's recent hiring of a Thin Film Engineer and Manufacturing Design Engineer coincides perfectly with the idea that the company could be planning to scribe solar cells onto the sapphire glass panel for the iPhone 6. However, Margolis is able to take his theory one step further. A company called Manz AG out of Germany just announced a $50m EUR ($68m USD) order in its display division for solar cell coating equipment. The innovative coating technology was developed in close cooperation with a "leading smartphones manufacturer" and the purchased technology includes "innovative vacuum coating systems" as well as "laser process technology." Notably, Manz AG says the technology developed "offers excellent prospects for follow-up orders and corresponding high future revenue potential."

Margolis suggests that Apple plans to use the solar cell coating equipment ordered from Manz AG to scribe solar cells onto sapphire glass screens for its new iPhone. He offers the following checklist.

Fact Checklist
● Apple filed solar patents that will allow them to power their electronic devices directly through solar cells.
● Apple posted and filled a Thin Films Engineer position with solar experience.
● Apple signed a $578m contract with GT Advanced Technologies to provide sapphire materials (sapphire cover screens)
● Apple announced they would be spending $10.5B in capital during fiscal year 2014 including cutting edge lasers.
● Apple recently posted a Manufacturing Design Engineer position that includes "scribing" and "PVD coating" which relate to thin films (solar cells) and lasers.
● Over 100 iPhones have been assembled with sapphire covered displays.

What do you think? Is there enough evidence here to predict what Apple has up its sleeve? Is a sapphire glass solar powered iPhone 6 on the way? Let us know in the comments.

Please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, or RSS for updates.

Read More [via BGR]

Apple to Release iPhone 6 With Sapphire Glass Solar Power Panel in 2014? [Analyst]
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Comments (27)
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A.Kutcher - January 31, 2014 at 3:42am
The real money maker would be a phone that charges with movement like when you walk or pick up your phone.... I know they have watches like that but.... I'm not sure how much power that would provide the phone. Still I would buy that shit. Also if apple comes out with this, I'm suing them.
gamerscul9870 - January 31, 2014 at 4:02am
What part of suing, your idea or the solar power?
Manzano - April 4, 2015 at 3:51pm
incredibile come con una semplice cover abbaino creato il futuro delle cover .ogni volta rimango sbalordito dalla loro sempre nuova fantasia e dal loro essere eleganti con davvero poco .credo davvero che il 2011 sia davvero l'anno di ipad2 ..a volte pochi cambiamenti bastano per reggere il grosso impatto della concorrenza ..la mia paura e' che non facciano la fine di microsoft quando si e' davvero in alto si rischia sempre di cadere .
Treated like a Criminal
Treated like a Criminal - January 30, 2014 at 11:14pm
Great idea, however useless if you have a phone case, unless the phone case already has built-in solar panel.
gamerscul9870 - January 31, 2014 at 2:25am
Cut the case open ;)
yaclexx - January 31, 2014 at 3:57pm
I think the idea of a touch screen solar panel is to charge the phone using the touch screen itself. Unless you are using a case that covers the iPhone screen, you shouldn't have any problem.
Rome187 - January 30, 2014 at 6:18pm
It actually makes sense if you do the research. The company New Energy Technologies Inc. (NENE) have been developing this type of technology for everyday use especially for people to cut down on electric bills. It's like a spray that goes onto glass and transfers solar energy, lightbulb energy, even street lights at night and transfers that into energy that can be used and stored. Might want to check them out before bashing the idea about things that you've already seen that aren't remotely close to the possibilities of this technology
gamerscul9870 - January 30, 2014 at 12:09pm
As I said to K, fingerprint scanner is not as good as it seems, wow, scanning a finger in a new way BUT mentioned before. Think about it.
gamerscul9870 - January 29, 2014 at 10:02pm
Unless it comes as an accessories or option, but no matter where I go, phones are always out, technically not dumb.
striatic - January 30, 2014 at 12:48am
Think about this for a second. When is a Solar Panel useful on a phone? When you are outside, in sunlight. Super situational, right? What else is going on when you are outside, in sunlight, using a phone? The phone's backlight is being pushed to maximum to compensate for the additional glare and ambient light. Don't think of this panel as something that charges the phone when it is in your pocket. Think of it as a feature that significantly reduces battery consumption of the backlight.
gamerscul9870 - January 30, 2014 at 6:46pm
What he is saying is if we are in the middle of nowhere, or forgot our chargers, or how often we use it. and in a park for example.
odedoo1 - February 9, 2014 at 11:41pm
any light works not only sunlight.
gamerscul9870 - February 10, 2014 at 12:02am
Ok fine, I am dumb.
Joe2121 - January 29, 2014 at 11:53am
My cousin has a keyboard that charges from the regular lights in the house. It's considered Solar it would be interesting if they throw in that feature it would be killer! The keyboard is from logitech.
angkung - January 29, 2014 at 5:13am
Worry is misuse of imagination, Let put this as biggest opportunity for apple right now.. As this will beneficial of both user and manufacture, let put some support on this.
Vueapp - January 29, 2014 at 4:58am
This is more believable for tech for the iwatch than the iPhone. Smaller battery. Solar to battle the daily drain. Already exist in Casio but those aren't touch screens. More believable there. Battery is the biggest battle in the iWatch IMO. It's either e ink or crap battery life.
Vueapp - January 29, 2014 at 4:48am
Just fit a bigger battery. It would take forever to charge in the most ideal situations. More of a marketing thing if ever achieved. Have two battery types. Normal li ion. And also capacitative for a small quick charge. Or just do the wireless one. And later on it will be the norm to have a wireless charging pad at restaurants and cafés. Solar is only good for outdoors people. There is energy everywhere in normal life.
gamerscul9870 - January 29, 2014 at 4:50am
This would be good as an apple accessories so people can have the option, you have a good point, let's rumor this before we worry about how many miss iOS 7 looks, long story for K's idea posted on every article of iOS 7.
Bugged Out
Bugged Out - January 29, 2014 at 3:51am
Apple also plans to put a tiny windmill on the ip6 to capture all the hot air from bullshitting analysts.
Margolisfan#1 - January 29, 2014 at 2:08am
Genius analytical evaluation
samsam12s - January 29, 2014 at 12:41am
is this why carl icahn bought more shares in apple?
gamerscul9870 - January 29, 2014 at 12:42am
No,the chart post here explains it, maybe.
Mike Power
Mike Power - January 29, 2014 at 12:24am
I had it with apple, no more apple for me.
gamerscul9870 - January 29, 2014 at 12:37am
Had it with samskunk but never owned any unimangined products they made just to follow. I'm done hearing from them.
odedoo1 - February 9, 2014 at 11:49pm
i actually own a Cell/Lab Shop and i'll sell the customers whatever they chose to buy but i've seen more people moving to Android and then coming back to iOS devices then the other way around. in fact i've never seen people moving from Android to Apple and then going back to Android, at least i don't think i did!
gamerscul9870 - January 28, 2014 at 11:37pm
Solar panel has been mentioned before, but if this happens, it will change charging, hope it comes with a cover (or an option in the os) to keep it from burning the battery.
odedoo1 - February 9, 2014 at 11:52pm
you are talking solar charging which is only boosting so i really wouldn't worry about over charging the battery and u shouldn't either.
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