Pundit makes the case for a solar-powered iPhone 6

It would seem that much of the tech world is expecting Apple to give its iPhone line a significant refresh this year. The company is believed to be working on not one, but two new models with larger displays, and of course there will be the usual performance bumps.

But if you ask Matt Margolis of Seeking Alpha, the iPhone 6 may feature much more than just a larger display. The analyst thinks the handset could utilize a sapphire display with an embedded solar power panel, and he makes a pretty interesting case for the theory…

In a lengthy post, which is definitely worth a read, Margolis lays out extensive evidence for why he thinks Apple’s next smartphone could be solar-powered. He points to some recently filed patents, job hirings and a variety of other curious actions from the company.

Apparently Apple has filed a numerous patents on solar charging capabilities for computer and mobile devices in the past few years. One patent in particular describes a method for charging a laptop, smartphone or tablet battery through the use of embedded solar cells.

Solar farmSolar farm for Apple’s North Carolina data center

Margolis also reminds us of an Apple job listing from last fall regarding a Thin Films Engineer with solar experience for its mobile devices team. He suggests that the position, which has since been filled, was to create and perfect thin-film (solar cell) charging for iOS devices.

Finally, there’s that new Arizona sapphire glass plant and rumors that Apple was behind a recent $68 million order with German company Manz AG for solar cell coating equipment. Is it possible that Apple is coating its new sapphire displays with thin-film solar cells? Maybe.

All of this is of course speculation, and there are a number of reasons why a solar-powered iPhone—which for many is a device that stays pocketed—wouldn’t work. But the paper trail is certainly interesting, and it makes you wonder what Apple could have up its sleeve.