There are loads of solar-powered iPhone and iPod Touch chargers–the Solio Solar Charger, Solar Arcadia iPhone Solar Charger, and the SOLiCharger, to name a few–but until today, Apple stayed mum on the topic. Now the computing behemoth has given the thumbs up to Novothink‘s Solar Surge charger, scheduled to be released for the 2G iPod Touch at the end of September and the iPhone later this year.
The $70 device can produce 30 to 60 minutes of talk time on 2 hours of pure sun power thanks to a lithium ion battery that has 120% of the capacity of the iPhone 3G. Just in case you’re in a cloudy area, the charger also comes with a USB cable. And if you’re unsure about how much sunbathing the Solar Surge requires for your needs the Novothink Web site provides a handy Solar Planner, which analyzes charging time necessary based on the weather and phone usage.
Apple presumably chose to endorse the Solar Surge because it’s more compact and sleek than most other similarly-priced chargers on the market. It’s a fun gadget to show off, but probably is more useful for iPod Touch owners than iPhone-ers. Plenty of people spend time listening to their iPods while running or walking, but there are few reasons to leave an iPhone sitting on the grass. The real test for the Solar Surge will be its weight–if it’s too unwieldy, it won’t be practical for everyday use.