Solar iPhones Would Change Game, Ease Guilt

What if you didn't have to plug in your iPhone? Make you feel better about the heaving landfills that are swelling with handheld devices? Ease your carbon-based energy stress?

What if Apple went solar?

One of Steve Jobs' -- and Apple's -- enduring corporate tenets is reinvent. Some might say cannibalize existing success to plow ahead into new successes. So a solar cell in an iPhone would severely limit the after-market sales of replacement chargers and other add-ons.

GigaOM's Katie Fehrenbacher offers an expert article on just how a solarized-Apple would look. Following the patents, like Patently Apple has basically cornered the market on, shows that Apple is pondering a voltage converter for mobile devices. Reportedly, Apple has two solar patents, and five solar applications total.

Of course, there are solar chargers out there. The thing is, those chargers incorporate an extra lithium ion battery -- heaping on earth's landfill load just that much more. But solar cells are still expensive to produce, and that gets passed to consumers.

Projections have 30 million iPhones being sold in Q4 this year.Talk about scale -- that could be 30,000,000 little non-battery powerhouses.

With an embedded solar cell, Apple could lead the way and get us off the battery-pack treadmill, after all.

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