Rumor: Apple’s secret partnership with Intelligent Energy to boost iPhone battery performance

By , Jul 14, 2014

iOS 7 (battery empty 001)

Rumor has it that Apple has secretly partnered with a British fuel-cell firm called Intelligent Energy on deploying its fuel cells in electronic devices such as MacBooks, iPhones and iPads within a few years.

Intelligent Energy’s technology converts chemical energy from fuel stored in the cells into electricity.

The technology could potentially allow future iPhones and iPads to run on a single charge for days or even weeks. As a bonus, the process is green and highly efficient…

British tabloid Daily Mail points to Intelligent Energy patent filings revealing the company bought a bundle of patents from battery firm Eveready in December last year, in tandem with a “major international electronics company”.

This has Apple written all over it, the publication claimed:

It has kept the identity of its partner a closely-guarded secret. But a source, who has knowledge of the partnership, confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm.

If the British firm can become Apple’s chosen partner in a great leap forward for energy-efficient devices, it could be catapulted into the ranks of global technology players.

It’s interesting the UK firm recruited former Apple product specialist Joe O’Sullivan to its board as chief operating officer and recently opened an office in San Jose, down the road from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Apple’s own patent filings reveal the firm has been researching fuel cell-powered MacBooks and smartphones. One of the patent filings submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office last summer promises to “eliminate the need for a bulky and heavy battery” by using a hydrogen fuel cell to convert hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy.

The hydrogen-cell technology is being used as a power source for cleaner cars such as Tesla’s vehicles. Coincidentally or not, Apple apparently considered buying Tesla. CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that discussions did take place, but stopped short of providing the specifics.

As Bloomberg speculated, pundits think Apple was after Tesla’s new battery plant, which it is calling the Gigafactory, or a potential partnership in that regard.

Here’s Musk talking battery technologies with an iPhone engineer.

For what it’s worth, Apple is among the biggest buyers of batteries along with Tesla.

I’m not really sure why Apple would leak this information to a tabloid or how Daily Mail learned about Apple’s plans. That being said, I’ve decided to go ahead and publish the rumor because I think it’s relevant in light of Samsung’s ‘wall huggers’ ad which ridicules the iPhone’s battery performance.

On a similar note, various surveys all seem to point to a longer battery life being the #1 feature request by iPhone users of all stripes.

Is a longer-lasting battery your #1 iPhone feature request as well?

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  • GM’s

    This rumor sounds like wishful from an iPhone user tbh

    • Eni

      This rumor sounds like wishful for our grand sons tbh

    • Jennifer Jones

      “Intelligent Energy’s technology converts chemical energy from fuel stored in the cells into electricity.”

      • Aditya Bhatt

        “Innovative.”

    • Waleed

      Somebody’s biggest Dream

  • Tony Trenkle Jr.

    Days or weeks?? Cue David from the Dentist: “Is this real life”?

    • Sachin

      If this happens I couldn’t resist to say – Shut up and take my money! :D

      • Tony Trenkle Jr.

        Right there with ya! Lol

  • Jeffrey Feuerstein

    Interesting… Too bad we’d probably have to wait a (few) years…

  • iBanks

    My current battery on my 5s is just fine. Anything better is also welcomed.

    • eXoguti093

      Unless you reach 700 charge cycles and the capacity drops 33% to 1000mAh like my 4s did xD

  • Rowan09

    I’ll believe it when I see it, but I need to research the companies stock because they sound like they have the next “sliced bread”.

  • Brian 

    Bigger screen with an improved battery life (due to more internal space) is definitely what consumers want! Thinness is become irrelevant seeing as how the iPhone 5S is perfectly fine, but Apple’s obsession to make things thinner affects the potential dramatic increase in battery life that they are sacrificing.

  • Yujin

    Battery sucks for all phones and specially the badly manage androids. Apple, as you would expect them to is looking for ways to get the best battery of any phone. If they can secure that then in a few years we can see an iPhone that is unbreakable, HD screen, and a battery that last for days. This is the holy grail of phones and people will gladly pay for such device.

    • Donovan

      Sounds like a Note 3, minus the “unbreakable”

      • Antzboogie

        Sorry no.

  • Guest

    “Intelligent Energy’s technology converts chemical energy from fuel stored in the cells into electricity.”
    I might be wrong but isnt that how all batteries work?

  • chris125

    They need something to add to the small battery. Come on apple wow us with a huge battery in the iPhone 6

  • Andrew Roth

    What isn’t mentioned is pricing. Would this drive the price of Apple devices up even more? They’re already pretty expensive…

    • José Gabriel Rivera Velázquez

      It’s funny when people say that Apple’s flagship device is expensive when all of today’s flagship devices start off at $649.99 USD.

      • Andrew Roth

        Let’s think of a few others here. Moto X? Not as expensive. OnePlus One? Nope. HTC One? Nuh-uh. There’s tons others that are cheaper as well.

  • Waleed

    Few years ? UMM, i want it in iPhone 6 (not possoble) or at least iPhone 6S ? :(
    This battery is a major problem of my life !

  • Waleed

    Nice information for you people, you all should try “batterylife” app frOm CYDIA ! It tells the useful information about battery ! Here is mine in the image. Mine needs replacement, as the cycles have increased and capacity is decreased.. imma get a new battery soon,

  • RuddyN

    I just don’t want to be forced to buy an iPhone that has a bigger screen..

    • Guest

      Buy an old one then :P

  • Xee

    Anyone had a battery problem where sometimes my iPhone gets to around 15-30% and then it just dies. As soon as I plug it in it straight back to 15-30% or whatever it was before it died. Not this issue since upgrading from 7.0.4 to 7.1.2, until yesterday. Its almost as if the iPhone is reporting the wrong battery percentage…?

    Not sure if its a fault or some app, service or tweak is causing it.

  • Marshall Blr

    if apple would be able to afford and do it mostly…they’ve won the technology race..i assume that nowadays it’s not a big deal if you have an eye scanner in your phone, ad 1 what for , ad 2, everyones got it.. i guess big thing would be if we would have to charge only once a week our phone..may its will be the next ” technology war” whose phone has better battery life..maybe..but it would make sense at all..