There is a vast number of iPad covers available, from utilitarian to luxurious. There are also a number of iPad charging covers including solar-powered versions, which eliminate the need to plug in, at least in theory.
The problem is that current silicon-based solar cells are heavy, bulky, delicate, and woefully underpowered.
Alta Devices, by changing to a gallium-arsenide based solar cell, claims to have achieved up to 28% efficiency in a thin and flexible layer. The new material is expected to find applications embedded in buildings or other materials, such as DOW Solar Shingles.
The solar cell could be integrated into a cover or even the casing of an iPad. Alta Devices CEO Chris Norris explained, “Using our material, the cover of an iPad can generate 10 watts of power in the full sun. That’s the same amount of power you get from the wall.”
Alta Devices plans on bringing the new iPad-compatible technology to market by 2013. They working at making the new technology cheaper, as the gallium-arsenide cell is much more expensive than the traditional solar cell.