If you read Inhabitat with any frequency, you know we are always on the lookout for greener gadgets that will reduce the amount of energy and waste associated with wireless mobility. Well, we just spotted some breaking greener gadget news that are sure to get Apple fans excited! Drumroll please..

Apple just filed a patent to infuse their hand-helds and computers with a thin film of solar cells, paving the way for a new generation of gadgets with battery life boosted by the sun. The patent approaches the prospect from every angle, with schematics to stack photovoltaic cells beneath the entire surface of their portables – including the screen!

We’ve covered portable solar solutions in the past, but it’s big news when such a prominent player steps up to the plate – and who wouldn’t love a greener Apple?

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The patent states a variety of possible applications: “Solar cells are typically stacked with other layers made of transparent or semi-transparent materials… Some of these layers may be used for display or input purposes, and some layers may be coated with various materials or they may be etched with product logos or other patterns.” It goes on to explain that devices could display the performance of the solar cells on their screens next to the battery bar, or even on top of the cells themselves.

It will be interesting to see if the use of photo-voltaic panels in portable electronics will contradict the current consumer trend towards smaller and smaller gadgets, since a large, flat surface is required for solar to have any degree of efficiency. I’m also curious to see how they plan to deal with heat issues inherent in leaving pricey electronics out in the sun. Either way, this will be one to watch.

We’ve long been fans of Apple’s meticulous product design, and long lamented the companies slow steps towards sustainability, so this announcement makes us very excited. We can’t wait to see what Apple is planning to do with this patent.

Via Forbes.com