Apple Patents: iPods Get Solar, Gestures Get Funky

Illustration for article titled Apple Patents: iPods Get Solar, Gestures Get Funky

Apple patents come a dime a dozen, but these two seem both practical and implementable. The first outlines a solar powered iPod and the second details more specific gesture-based input methods, including scoops, nudges, and tilts.


The first patent, published last week, details a system in which an iPod draws power from solar cells covering the device. It includes a description on how constant voltage could be maintained even with the user's hand obstructing some of the cells and explains how the solar power could be used in conjunction with traditional batteries. The less I have to plug my stuff in the better, I say. Check!

I was initially skeptical of my MacBook's multitudinous multitouch, but I was quickly converted and now I'm swishing and flicking like a Hogwarts First Year. Apple's next patent expands on gesture-based input, detailing an input device with the ability to sense force and velocity. These sensors allow the hardware to register more more complex and more specific gestures, giving the user more precise control over their devices.

Illustration for article titled Apple Patents: iPods Get Solar, Gestures Get Funky

The patent names a few such gestures: "brushing motions, scooping motions, nudges, tilt and slides, and tilt and taps." Sounds like fun to me. Check! [MacRumors via Engadget]



I can see one GINORMOGANTUS problem and one BIG problem with a solar powered iPod.

First my iPod gets stored in one of three places:

1) My pocket,

2) My backpack, or

3) On my desk with its screen up.

Solar won't work in the first two places, and in the third, the area is greatly reduced by the screen which brings me to the big problem.

Most current iPods are mostly screen on the front, and most people don't place their iPods face down because they don't want them to get scratched, so the back of the iPod would never see the light of day long enough for this to justify the cost.