Talking tech since 2003

I love my iPhone, but I hate how quickly it dies. I see its whole life flash before my eyes in a matter of hours over and over again and I am powerless to stop it. While there may be little hope for my 4S, the future for all Apple device’s progeny looks brighter.

A report by the Daily Mail speculates, backed by an unidentified but knowledgable source, that Apple is working on the down-low with the British company Intelligent Energy to develop fuel cells as a longer-lasting energy source. Goodbye, wallhugging? But if fuel cells sound familiar, it’s because they’re nothing incredibly new. Back in December of 2011 it was revealed by AppleInsider that Apple was investigating the potential use the technology as an energy source. So it’s a concept that’s been simmering for quite some time.

Wait, what’s that? How do fuel cells work, you ask? Fuel cells still use chemical reactions to create electricity, but differ from batteries in that they can create energy as long as they are provided with oxygen or air. Batteries use a finite amount of chemicals to produce a finite amount of energy, giving them a shorter charge. Apple has said that fuel cells could provide energy to a device “for days or even weeks without refueling.” NASA uses them to power space probes and satellites, and they’re used to keep buses going. So they should be good enough for our Apple products. (For a better explanation of fuel cells, visit here.)

But it’s 2014 now, and no fuel cell-powered laptops. Hopefully, with the help of Intelligent Energy, this will change. Last year the company bought a load of patents applicable to fuel-cell technology from Eveready, and Apple itself owns fuel cell patents. The development of this technology would span over the course of the next few years, and there would be many issues to confront. One is the fact that fuel cells work with Hydrogen, and Hydrogen is usually extracted via electrolysis (using electricity to cause a chemical reaction)––a process that consumes more energy than would be produced. So efficiency would need to be worked on.

Nothing is confirmed by either Apple or Intelligent Energy yet, but that will likely come in time. The payoff for this technology would be so enormous, how could Apple not be working on it? I don’t think I need to elaborate on how awesome it would be to have an iPhone that lasts a week. While there are some impressive batteries out there, this kind of development would put Apple miles ahead of its competition.

But if fuel cells don’t end up being Apple’s cup of tea, where would it turn to next? How about in the meantime? Will Apple fans have to toil away next to outlets until some miracle tech comes along? Battery life is one of the next big issues to be tackled, and whoever really hits the milestone will make a lot of money. Here’s to hoping that Intelligent Energy and Apple are the companies to do it.

Source: Daily Mail

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