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A new patent application reveals that Apple is researching how to power an iPhone from solar power.The only problem is that currently require external converters that are bulky which is not Apple’s style.

Apple’s patent, filed originally in 2012, looks like it could provide a way to make getting power from the sun before 2015.

key to Apple’s patent is a power management array for accepting both power adapter and solar power direct from gathering devices or traditional mains-based chargers. This allows a user to plug in a MagSafe or iPad/iPod adapter, or alternatively hook a MacBook or other piece of hardware directly to a solar panel with a simple cord.

There’s also a means for accepting both inputs at the same time, according to the patent, for a power balance that would likely charge your device quicker but with more economical use of juice from the grid.

The key to this patent is that the system described is both composed of readily available power management techniques achievable with existing hardware, and; able to be built using componentry that takes up very little space, making it theoretically possible to integrate it into existing device designs without much modification. Both of those indicate that Apple could build this into products sooner, rather than later, should it choose to go that route.

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