Apple is considering new technology to replace “bulky and heavy” batteries attached to its products. The company is planning to make devices powered by hydrogen fuel cells, according to patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The plans could create computers and phones with weeks-long battery power. It would also make the devices lighter and less bulky. According to the UK’s Telegraph, hydrogen fuel cells work by converting hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy. This technology is already being explored for cars and the military.
“Our country’s continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling,” reads the patent application.
“These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources.” It also notes that hydrogen fuels cells could be smaller and lighter than batteries, while still powering mobile computers for longer.
“Such 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.
The two patents, “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device” and “Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device” not the first signs that Apple is working to replace battery technology. In October the Apple Insider reported that the company filled several other patent applications for similar technology.
According to Chinese-language newspaper, the Economic Daily News, Apple is rushing production of its iPad 3 in the hopes of releasing it on February 23, aka Steve Jobs’ birthday.
Focus Taiwan reported on the Economic Daily News rumor in English, writing that the tiny Chinese daily cites “sources close to the Taiwanese makers of the iPad 3” and says that iPad 3 factories will need to work “through the Lunar New Year holiday to meet the delivery deadline.”
“To meet the iPad3 delivery date,” the sources said, “main assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry’s iPad division will only allow its employees to take five days off during the Lunar New Year holiday, while staff at the company’s other divisions will have a longer holiday.”