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Monday, May 26, 2008, 10:05 am PT (01:05 pm ET)

Sydney store banner; Apple solar LCD patent; Mississippi store

Apple has filed for a patent that would charge devices through solar panels behind their LCDs. Also, the company has put up a dramatic banner advertising its upcoming Sydney, Australia store, and Mississippi's first retail store is also confirmed as in the cards.

Sydney retail store given teasing banner

In what's quickly becoming a trend, Apple has once again posted a banner atop the glass front of an upcoming flagship retail store, ifo Apple Store reports.

Similar to the mock Green Monster used for the just-opened Boston store, the blue graphic above Apple's upcoming Sydney, Australia store conceals the final preparations for the design while also teasing with the prospect of an imminent opening: next to a swirl of blue iPod nanos, the only clue as to a doors-open date is a call to "drop in soon."

With the posting comes word of the cost to Apple for these publicity efforts. Every square foot of the plastic sheeting costs an estimated $10 to $12, resulting in $25,000 or more to advertise the store during the likely short-lived teaser campaign.

Located at the corner of George and King, the store promises to be both Australia's first official Apple store and its first flagship at the same time, spanning 14,370 square feet. A second store is planned for Melbourne.

Notably, both sources for ifo and other sites point to the first two Australian stores launching in June, potentially arriving in sync with an iPhone launch in the territory.

Apple files for solar screen technology patent

Part of Apple's wider greening efforts may one day include devices that often power themselves, according to a US patent filing found by Mac Rumors.

Rather than attempt to graft solar panels to the back of a given device or else make it larger, the technique would sandwich solar panels between the LCD and the circuit board. In this way, future Apple products could simply collect energy from the screen area itself and avoid impacting the aesthetics or the size of the product.

It would also shelter the panel from most forms of damage, the company says.

As is the case with patent applications, Apple hasn't yet been granted a patent and isn't under pressure to use the technology for a shipping product; the invention also faces technical hurdles such as ensuring that enough light reaches past the LCD to power the solar array.

Apple building, recruiting for first Mississippi store

Apple is quickly taking steps to expand its presence in the southern US with its first retail outlet in Mississippi.

The Clarion Ledger notes that aldermen in Ridgeland, near Jackson, have greenlit a proposed store for Renaissance at Colony Park, a new outdoors mall launched in March.

Simultaneously, both Apple's retail jobs page and a Renaissance page are already recruiting staffers for the location.