Apple has filed two patent applications related to Fuel Cell batteries, hoping to develop and launch technology that allows its devices including the iPhone, iPad tablet, and laptop computers like the MacBook go weeks without a battery charge.
The first patent Apple filed is titled Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computer Device. The comany says in the filing that consumers want renewable sources of energy for their mobile electronic devices. Apple consumers also want devices to have extended power, something that has plagued the popular iPhone.
The world's most popular smartphone, Apple's iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s run programs simultaneously, which can eat up battery life. Also, after the company released its iOS 5 software update late this year it was forced to release a new software update that helps preserve battery life.
Because fuel cells can store massive amounts of energy compared to traditional electronic batteries and are capable of using less space with proper design Apple hopes to develop technology that is both space and cost efficient to power its devices in a radical new way.
Fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refuelling, Apple said in a patent application.
In Apple's second patent application Apple has a design that works with a traditional battery so that one can recharge the other -- similar in a way to how hybrid engine technology works with automobiles. Fuel cells have been used for charging electronic devices, but Apple's patents aim to have fuel cells built into the devices.
Reports have suggested that Apple's forthcoming iPhone 5 will be a radical new design with new features. It is said to be the last big project the late Steve Jobs ever worked on. New features for the iPhone 5 have been reported to be a larger screen size and 4G LTE capability.
While it is not known if Apple's fuel cell or hybrid fuel cell technology will make it into the iPhone 5, the patent filings reveal that is the direction the Cupertino, Ca.-based company is moving. The iPhone 5 release date is expected to be by the summer of 2011.