Apple awarded patent for solar-powered MacBook

The MacBook would use a photovoltaic unit to generate energy, according to the Apple patent application. 

How much better would this MacBook be if it was solar-powered?

Forget ordinary old power cords. If Apple has anything to say about it, at some point in the future we'll all be firing up our laptops with the help of solar power. 

This week, the Cupertino company was awarded a patent for what it terms an "electronic device display module" – a kind of two-sided laptop display embedded with a photovoltaic unit. The patent application, which was first filed nearly four years ago, includes a (jargon heavy) description of how the process would work. 

"The rear plate [of the laptop] may be formed from electrochromic glass," reps for Apple wrote. "Photovoltaic cells may be located under the rear plate and may produce power when activated by an external light source." Point the back of your laptop toward the sun, in other words, and you'll never have to worry about your battery gauge sinking into the red again. 

We can already picture spending our afternoons in the park, instead of at our desks, chained to the power strip. Here's hoping that Apple can figure out a way to make that photovoltaic unit a little smaller than the ones on existing solar-powered laptops such as the SOL

In less ... bright news (forgive us), Apple today announced that it had sold 51 million iPhones in the last fiscal quarter, which represents a bump from the same time last year.

Still, the numbers failed to meet investor estimates of 55 million units; as a result, Apple stock tumbled as much as 8 percent in trading on Tuesday. 

"Apple has the ability to lower the price of the iPhone to compete more aggressively in the midrange, and we believe the resulting elasticity would yield net profit improvements," analysts for Goldman Sachs said today, according to Reuters. 

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