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Apple hints at solar-powered iPhone

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Credit: U.S. Patent and Trademark office
Credit: U.S. Patent and Trademark office

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Apple has filed for a patent for a combined touch screen/solar panel that could be used to allow solar charging of its iPhones and iPods, U.S. documents show.

A patent application from Apple published Wednesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office describes solar-paneled technology designed for devices with small screens, CNET reported.

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The application is for an "integrated touch sensor and solar assembly" that would utilize electrodes that can serve the dual purposes of solar cell and touch sensor.

Apple's patent application says the technology could be utilized in handheld devices like "a media player or phone," but the application also includes an image of a screen that matches, in size, that of the iPad.

Apple has filed applications for a number of solar-related patents in recent years, but due to high productions costs many solar-related technologies have been slow to take off, so it could be some time before consumers see any solar-equipped devices from the Cupertino, Calif., company.

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