If and When Apple Goes Solar, It Will Be a Huge Deal for Green Tech

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Solar cells have ridden to success on the backs of other products for decades. First, NASA used the cells in space. Then oil companies stuck them onto off-shore oil rigs. Later, calculators and other small electronics started to include them to generate tiny amounts of power. Now, Katie Fehrenbacher of GigaOm looks at a natural evolution of this trend that's been very underlooked. What if Apple began to include solar cells in its products to extend their batteries' lifespans? 


Batteries for electric cars have already gotten a big boost from the lithium-ion needs of gadgets, so why not solar cells? Imagine millions of beautiful gadgets with solar power embedded in them. It'd not only change the market and spur technological development, but put the freedom of solar in the hands of the world's elite consumers. 

Imagine sitting in the sun with your iPad for as long as you wanted to without having to power up. Instead of hunting for an outlet at the coffee shop, you could fight over the best sunny spot in the park across the street.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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