warhol’s 15 minutes and another apple patent application

Apple’s “Power Management Systems for Accepting Adapter and Solar Power in Electronic Devices” patent application was published as US2013/0290743 (the ‘743 application) last week. Of course the usual suspects were out of the gate quickly.

Patently Apple, AppleInsider and 9to5Mac published articles within the day.  Upon reading those articles and the actual ‘743 patent application I was drawn back to my previous post touching on Apple’s Ahrendts hire.  In so many instances lateral thinking proves interesting.

In one sentence the ‘743 application describes a system for and method of using a solar panel to recharge the battery of an electronic device, without having a converter between the solar panel and the power management system.  Many, if not all, of the articles seem to take Figure 1, reproduced below, of the ‘743 application at face value i.e. an electronic device user will carry around a small “personal” solar panel.



OK so let’s think laterally about the disclosed technology.  Consider the solar panel 106 as simply representative of a few solar cells, and the connection between it and the electronic device 102 as only having an electrical component, allowing a range of physical dimensions.  From here one can take the scale of the physical connection to its extremes.  At one end the solar panel 106 may be integrated in the electronic device 102.  Maybe this could take the form of that disclosed in Apple’s US8,368,654. At the other end maybe the panel 106 is actually a solar generating facility associated with a building, or office, or home.  In this latter case one might have a low-voltage DC network into which the electronic device can be connected.  Certainly such networks are already present in some homes that contain low voltage lighting systems.

At this point we do not know the scope of protection afforded to the ‘743 application as a patent has not issued.  However, ‘the ‘743 application does present some interesting ideas.  Ideas that become more interesting, and potentially more valuable, when you consider them with a more open perspective.