Apple continues to keep us on our toes, if nothing else. Almost immediately after reporting on the company's failure to step up sustainability reporting, we learned that the computing giant filed a patent this week for an "intelligent Power Monitoring" system. Could it be competition for Microsoft's Hohm and Google's Powermeter?
The details are still fuzzy, so it's not entirely clear what Apple intends to do with its new system. The patent application describes an electronic device that cuts down on energy use and reduces monthly power bills by figuring out how much energy devices need to perform certain tasks.
The patent explains, "The cost of power can vary based on a number of factors, including for example the time of day, week or month, the consumer's tier or type of service, the amount of power previously consumed by the consumer, alternate sources of power used by the consumer (e.g., solar cells used during the day), or any other suitable criteria." Apple's device would take advantage of varying electrical costs to let users set certain boundaries—for example, a user could set their computer to use only $5 worth of power on a weekly basis.
This doesn't sound like Apple is planning on release a Hohm or Powermeter-like energy monitoring application. But like those applications, we're guessing that Apple's new device will rely on access to smart meters. Beyond that, we can only watch and wait.