CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Toyota tests new car roof solar cells, Apple redesigns MacBook keyboards, and teen employment rates stagnant

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor via KGO logo
Saturday, July 6, 2019
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CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Toyota tests improved car roof solar cells, Apple redesigns MacBook keyboards after consumer complaints, and teen employment rates stagnant

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Toyota testing new solar roof for cars

Toyota will begin testing improved, redesigned solar power cells for cars in Japan in late July.

The new solar cells can charge the car's battery while the car is moving. The cells can also convert solar energy at a higher rate than the current model; the new cells convert energy at a rate of 34 percent and up, while the previous version had a rate of 22.5 percent. The new system also increases the range the car can drive, boosts its auxiliary power capacity, and, with a thinner design, the new cells can cover a larger area of the car.

Toyota is working in partnership with Sharp and Japanese national research organization NEDO. The companies hope the research will pave the way for more sustainable energy solutions within transportation.

Apple reverting to older keyboard style after consumer complaints, according to analysts

Apple may revert its MacBook keyboards from its current sleek, low-profile keys back to a style similar to older models', according to analysts.

Apple's current "butterfly" style keyboards have been met with consumer complaints that the keys were easily broken or disrupted by dirt and dust that got underneath the keys. Customers complained that the keys stuck or wouldn't register their typing.

Apple issued an apology for the inconvenience and made attempts to mitigate the problems with redesigns. Now, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, has indicated the computer company will revert back to the "scissor" style key design found in older models. These new key hinges are said to be made of glass fiber, which is more durable than the previous scissor hinges.

Fewer teens working summer jobs

The number of teens working summer jobs has been stagnant for about a decade, according to a new report.

Only about 40 percent of teens ages 16 through 19 worked last summer, according to CNBC analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2006, about 50 percent were working or looking for work, a sharp decline from the early 2000s when about 60 percent were working or looking for work. Almost 70 percent of teens worked in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Analysts believe that the decline in teens working summer jobs stems from increased extracurricular activities, including sports, volunteering, and college prep. In 1985, 10 percent of teens were enrolled in some sort of class during the summer. In 2018, 45 percent were enrolled in classes.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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