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A new patent application published by the USPTO this week (via AppleInsider) indicates that Apple has been considering the best ways to virtually deliver the advantages of solar energy to mobile gadgets, without requiring awkward and gigantic external converters. Solar charging is still fairly fringe when it pertains to the general gadget-using population, however Apple’s patent, filed originally in 2012, looks like it can offer a method to make getting your power from the sun something that’s generally palatable within a few years’ time.

The system in Apple’s patent is a power management selection for accepting both power adapter and solar energy direct from gathering devices or traditional mains-based chargers. So simply puts, you could plug in your MagSafe or iPad/iPod adapter, or additionally hook a MacBook or other piece of hardware straight to a solar panel with a simple cord. There’s also a way for accepting both inputs at the exact same time, according to the patent, for a power balance that’d likely charge your gadget quicker however with even more affordable use of juice from the grid.

The basic to this patent is that the system explained is both made up of easily offered power management techniques possible with existing hardware, and, able to be developed making use of componentry that takes up hardly any area, making it theoretically possible to integrate it into existing gadget designs without much modification. Both of those suggest that Apple could develop this into items quicker, as opposed to later, must it opt to go that route.

I ‘d still expect this to take a while to come to fulfillment, if it does at all, however it’s one means that Apple can check out the possibility of broadening device battery life in non-traditional use circumstances, like while out and about in nature and separated from any mains access. The primary will be whether this can be done without making any sacrifices to battery or device size, and that appears to be where Apple is concentrating its R&D efforts around solar, according to this application at least.