For those of you who didn?t think Apple could get any more inventive?guess what? The company recently filed a patent to put solar panels on many of its portable devices. While almost every technological company is joining in the green revolution, we can be sure that Apple will take it to the next level. Interestingly, earlier this month the company was written up as having one of the in the industry by Climate Counts.

The company plans to put photovoltaic cells underneath LCD touch screens, which will help provide a maximum surface area for the sun to hit and power the product. Most products only have a small space where solar cells can be placed considering most of the device is covered in buttons or casing. According to reports, the strength of the solar cells will be displayed in the iconic Apple symbol close to the battery power icon, clock, or other often looked at information.

While solar power is eco-friendly and in-line with environmental groups, the new power source will of course also provide users the benefit of not having to plug in their mobile devices. As we continue to use power in more ways and suck the environment?s natural resources out one day at a time, Apple may be among the first companies to give customers a relatively easy way out.

While Apple is the company that will popularize the idea and bring crazy demand to it, solar powered mobile devices are not new. Better Energy Systems released its $200 Solio MG, a device that can hold enough solar energy to charge a phone or PDA ? it is estimated that about an hour of direct sunlight will give cell phones 25 minutes of talk-time or a MP3 player 1 hour of play time. Other include sun bricks, the Solar-Powered Wii, and even a Solar-Powered aircraft.

Apple is not the first to come up with the idea, but will definitely be among those that will bring it to the main stream market. Motorola applied for a similar patent more than 5 years ago, although nothing came to fruition. Apple also recently applied for several other technologically ambitious patents, and although the company does not comment on future products and is known to file outrageous patents, we can be sure that the slick company has more slickness up its sleeve.

As if Apple weren?t already among the companies with the most brand-loyal followers, adding an eco-friendly element will only boost the favoritism of the company. People will pay more for Apple branded products simply because of the trend appeal and the cult following that the company has developed. If I didn’t just looooove my iPhone, I would have typed something really smug right here.