MacBook Air 2014

Apple continues to show interest in using hydrogen fuel cell technology, as evidenced in its latest patent filing. On Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent titled “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device.”

The invention appears to be, at least initially, targeted at the MacBook, as the filing mentions MagSafe several times. But last month, the British firm Intelligent Energy proved the tech can be shrunken down, by showing off an iPhone with a hydrogen fuel cell.

fuel cell patent

Apple outlines several benefits of its fuel cell invention, including its ability to significantly expand battery life in mobile devices. In one specific portion of the application, the inventors suggest it could enable devices to go “days or even weeks” between refueling.

Of course there are some caveats to the tech as well, such as users having to manually replace the fuel once it is depleted, though Apple said this could be remedied by cartridges. And there are also concerns regarding mass manufacturing and environmental impact.

Keep in mind that Apple has patented tens of thousands of ideas and inventions in the past, which never made it into actual products. But given that its current lineup of mobile devices can barely last a day, I imagine a lot of users are hoping that won’t be the case here.

Source: USPTO via AppleInsider

  • Chris Wagers

    I’ll take one and quite a few cartridges! Really hope this sees the light of day.

  • Mike M. Powell

    *slaps self to make sure I’m not dreaming*
    “Weeklong battery” in the title got me drawn. If they could do this oh man

  • Brandon

    week-long… you mean apple will cut the cell to a 7th of the size for 1 day battery life.

    • Manuel Molina

      1 day battery, more battery cycle usage, user ends up at apple for a replacement = 79.99 please.

      • Mike

        Cable breaks = 19.99 please.

      • Manuel Molina

        More like 30 and up.


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  • n0ahcruz3

    i think apple should go nuclear powered devices for infinite battery life. lmfao

    • Carlos Archundia Cejudo

      Oh I dropped my phone!… *KABOOOM!*

      • LegitPirate

        Perhaps that’s the premise of Fallout 4; everyone dropping their iPhones at the same time.

      • nonchalont


      • Carlos Archundia Cejudo

        All nuclear weapons are actually filled with hundreds of iphones

      • Nah…you’re just holding it wro.. *KABOOOM!*

  • Lemerio P.

    I don’t trust fuel cell technology at all. Bad idea is all I could think while reading this. I’d invest in true wireless charging technology that way you don’t have to think about dying from the several clumsy people in this world that may drop their phone.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    watch Samsung and others beat apple to it on this one.

  • besrate hogsa

    week long wow!!

  • Newgunnerr

    iPhone 7 with 4k display and week long battery = 90% market domination

    • Rodrigo Cobos

      make that 99% = Samsungs and other android phones out of the market forever. They will probably patent it so Samsung copy cats dont steal their batteries.

  • Abhinav Chaudhary

    Who would wanna replace the cartridges? And iPhone looks may be compromised with cartridge refilling design.

  • rockdude094

    I like it when my computer leaks water

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