Apple patent application reveals next-gen fuel cell powered Macs and iOS devices

“On December 22, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a pair of patent applications from Apple that reveal greater detailing of their next generation Fuel Cell project,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“The new fuel cells will one day power both iOS and OS X portable devices like the iPhone and MacBook for days, if not weeks at a time,” Purcher reports. “In October we covered Apple’s first patent on fuel cell technology in respect to fuel cell plates. Today’s patents provide us with greater detail of their fuel cell technology project that even considers implementing MagSafe as a key connector for fuel cell recharging between an iOS device like the iPhone and a MacBook.”

Purcher reports, “The race is on to bring next generation fuel cell technology to future portable devices and it appears that Apple may be on the verge of a major breakthrough on this front. ”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent app illustrations, here.

25 Comments

  1. Ah the advantages of controlling the whole hardware/software widget. MS will keep falling further and further behind as they depend on other copycat partners in ways Apple would never dream of. The superior approach wins out. Apple competition’s always running way behind a fast moving train. Now that Apple has money, and lots of it, nothing can hold them back from true innovative excellence now and products way ahead of the curve.

  2. If this new technology has the ability to power for days if not weeks from its power juice versus the hours to a day we have now, wait for that occasional story of a fuel cell overheating and catching fire… Probably look like one of those Tibetian Monk setting themself ablaze… Not gonna be pretty…

  3. Much as I like fuel cells as a method of storing energy (from wind, solar…), I am having trouble picturing the swap out of the fuel cells every few weeks, or whatever. It sounds annoying and expensive to me.

    What are the details? You buy a couple cells up front, swap and recharge them back and forth at the local Apple store as they die?

    My prediction is that fuel cells will be used for special applications requiring unwired power for long periods of time. I do NOT see them becoming any de facto power source tech for Joe and Jane Blow.

    I also don’t see users recharging the fuel cells themselves at home. Blowing up one’s house via accidental H2 gassing from the charger does not appeal to me.

    1. As I understand it, you can refuel fuel cells with a variety of hydrocarbons, either liquids like alcohol or lighter fluid, or gasses, like butane. Of course would depend on the cell in question. The point being you fuel them, not return them. Although Apple may make it non-user serviceable, like their other batteries.

      CO2 is also a byproduct along with the H20. However, in both cases, the amount would be small.

    2. If we could use a MagSafe Connector from an iPhone to a MacBook to recharge, then I’m not sure it’s really about fuel as it is about recharging the battery that is made up of these new fuels. The patent states that one device like a macbook could wirelessly charge anouther portable device. If you could recharge the battery wirelessly, then I hightly doubt that there’s any fuel used to recharge the unit.

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