One thing I love about Apple is that they have the clout to push ideas to market that might seem too niche or quirky from other vendors. (Wi-Fi in the first iBooks and USB in iMacs come to mind, although both of those products are from a younger Apple without nearly as much oomph as the company has today.) So when I see a patent coming down the pipe from Apple describing an attempt to integrate solar cells underneath LCD panels — allowing every iPhone, iPod, and open laptop to trickle charge its battery just by being left in the sun — I can't help but get excited. If Apple can make the technology work, it's likely that they'll push it into all their product lines — and hence the mainstream.
Of course, filing a patent doesn't mean that they've got the problems licked or that they'll be implementing the technology, either. But I can hope. Battery technology doesn't seem to be improving, but with the right power management techniques and a sunny day, some devices might not have to hit a charger for days at a time.
Solar LCD Powered iPods, iPhones and Laptops? [Mac Rumors]