Apple was granted a patent on March 25, 2014, for a solar-powered MacBook that also features an external screen in addition to secondary means of touch inputs on the rear. The U.S. Patent is No. 8,638,549 and is labeled as being for an “Electronic Device Display Module” and allows Apple to manufacture these devices with a variety of materials to establish its solar-powered energy. Although a dual-screen laptop isn’t new, since there are a few currently on the market already, Apple would be the first to release a dual-screened laptop that can be powered with solar energy.
The patent has even stated that the Apple logo for MacBook will be screened with a patterned ink layer and feature electro chromic glass on the rear of the display which will allow light to pass through. Apple has also proposed a photovoltaic system that could be placed between the rear panel of the laptop and the front-facing LCD screen. Because the laptop will have a glass backing and an electro chromic layer while in transparent mode, light will be able to hit photovoltaic cells which then turns energy into actual power which can be stored for later use or immediate use. Also explained in the patent are LED lighting techniques which have been described in detail, construction of the solar-powered laptop, and a variety of build options Apple could go with when choosing on display housing.
Because the rear panel will be made out of electro chromic glass, often called electrically switchable glass, the glass can change from translucent to transparent; meaning the rear-facing display will remain hidden until it’s activated by the user. Each section of the glass will also be able to activated individually which will allow for specified control and allowing the light to hit certain areas, for example, that would display the logo, or a small LCD display.
However, while Apple may have gotten the patent for a dual-sided laptop display that can be solar-powered, which they filed for back in 2010, it doesn’t mean Apple will actually use that technology on new products in the near future or if even at all. Many companies get patents for ideas all the time but never actually end up seeing them through. While it remains to be seen whether Apple will implement their new patent, but if they do, they’ll be set to release product reveals that’s sure to shock and excite consumers.