Apple granted patents for mobile hydrogen battery systems

Apple granted patents for mobile hydrogen battery systems
Unfortunately, lax requirements of the US patent system, there's no guarantee that we'll see this technology in the real world any time soon, or that it can actually be built into a working product, but Apple has been granted patents for theoretical designs for a hydrogen fuel cell system which could power mobile devices. We'd certainly love to see this tech, because mobile batteries are the biggest bottleneck to innovation, but theoretical designs are a far cry from physical devices.

It's long been assumed that hydrogen fuel cells are the future of battery technology, but the process has always been a bit too unstable for regular use. That barrier has been broken and hydrogen cells, which convert oxygen and hydrogen into water, heat and electricity, are currently being used in limited release electric cars, but that's still a long distance from making the battery small enough to power a mobile device.

The big challenge in making the technology portable is what Apple has theoretically figured out in these patent designs, which "eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel cell system, which can significantly reduce the size, weight and cost of the fuel cell system.” If this design can be made a reality, it would create a power system which could power a mobile device for days or even weeks, but let's not hold our breath that it will happen any time soon. We'd be happy if it were part of the iPhone 7.

source: Free Patents Online 1 & 2 via Mashable



1. The_Miz

Posts: 1496; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

First. This looks like a really novel and innovative idea.

3. hepresearch unregistered

Agreed. And after a quick glance it appears, in the schematic, to rely on an interchangeable fuel cartridge of some sort... or perhaps some sort of electrolysis procedure for using a wall charger to restock the fuel cartridge after a long period of use? And, by the way, congratulations on being first... My only concern... given the use of patent litigation, will Apple be able to prevent all other companies in all other industries from developing similar products and tech for their own "unique" products? Like, for example, in the automotive industry? Just sayin'...


Posts: 53; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

I have no clue what you just said...

7. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

exactly my worry. i wouldn't be so against apple if it didn't seem that they wanted to buy up all the patents so the technology couldn't be furthered... hypothetically... if someone else figures how to do this efficiently and can revolutionize the industry but that someone wasn't part of apple that means that it never gets released right? because even though apple would have the pattent for the official technology isn't there something about psychological property? i totally forgot the term but i hope you know what i'm talking about. would those two battle it out? i mean obviously apple will win with (what might as well be) limitless resources...

10. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

intellectual property?

13. hepresearch unregistered

Lately, it seems as if patents and "intellectual property" have become more and more interchangeable in their definitions when used in the industry. Effectively, it seems as though the patent holders are now able to control or limit the development of IP related to their patents across the board... I am less worried about Apple slowing tech development, and more worried about their ability to control all tech development as a cartel-styled model of IP and economics. If you control a technology, then you have the power to deny access to it in order to bring a market to its knees... you can then introduce your product at a much higher profit margin, and in lower supply (hence, less material and labor costs), if you wanted to. This would, inevitably, make your product more "exclusive", and reduce availability to the general populace... in other words, you can charge whatever you want for it, and the people who can afford it will step up and fork out, while those who cannot afford your price will necessarily wallow in their inability to obtain your product. Thus, the "Have's" will love Apple and it's exclusivity. By virtue of Apple's ability to rake in profit and produce the only decent competing tech products, Apple will be initiated into the "Have's" club as well. The "Have not's", on the other hand, will no longer be able to afford the innovative smartphone technologies of the future, and will remain a growing class of people who are trampled upon by the ever-shrinking class of people carrying the iPhone's and iPad's of the future.

17. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

Headache. Hepresearch we all know your theories about apple slowing this and controlling that. And they may be right, dunno. Only time will tell. But this article is just a patent. It doesn't mean that apple is the only one that may use a hydrogen battery. But they're the first one who got a clear idea for doing this into mobile devices. It's just a patent and you use that to reinforce your theories. That just makes me doubt about them. And there are still to many things unanswered about it.

29. hepresearch unregistered

You have no idea how much I would LOVE to be wrong... and indeed, only time will tell.

18. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

> If you control a technology... You can't control technology unless you lived in the stone ages before the age of reason and logic. Technology marches to its own drummer, and the advancements in technology easy dwarf the numerous inventions of any one company. The greatest thing about technology is the rise of substitute technology or alternatives. To believe the possession of one technology is the end-all or trumps all other technology, is simply foolishness.

30. hepresearch unregistered

I have seen enough happen to know a few things about general trends in science and technology... one thing I can tell you for certain is that, despite living in "the age of reason and logic", science and technology are both being redirected by governments and mega-corporations into ever more controlled and tightly guarded "guilds" of specialists and their trade secrets... and it is becoming more and more like the days of feudalism. This has already happened with many scientific fields, and it is happening now with the technology sector... even now I am watching it unfold, with my own eyes, as it is slowly and carefully orchestrated over the course of just a couple decades.

28. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Very true and possible but where are all the other companies with their innovations. Sometimes I feel like many companies aren't very innovative at all but only try to steal and add-on to someone else's inventions. Take gyroscope for example. Two days after Apple announced the feature, Motorola announced that they were going to incorporate gyroscope in their future devices. And also things like visual voicemail, pinch zoom and iOS's safari web browser. My problem is why can't manufacturers take the first step instead of waiting for someone else like Apple to do it first and THEN try to innovate/differentiate already innovative technology and claim it as theirs. Read comment #6 for example.

31. hepresearch unregistered

This is exactly what happens when one company gets the jump on all the others, and brings out a product that literally defines the entire market at once... since the release of the iPhone in 2007, it has simply become impossible to successfully market a new smartphone (or even a decent feature phone) without making it, in many respects, just like an iPhone. Furthermore, Apple is, through design patent applications like this one, ensuring that the next true innovation/evolution in the mobile industry will be far too excessively expensive for any other company to dare attempt it. The more I think about it, the harder it is for me to blame Apple. Apple is only doing what mega-corporations are designed to do... aggressively protect their own bottom-line and future survival through ensured market dependence. If Samsung had done it first, they would probably be doing the same thing that Apple is doing right now... it is the way that this monster of an economic system was designed to work.

32. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

The answer for your second paragraph is......... "no, Apple will not prevent other INDUSTRIES from making those kind of batteries..." Apple's patent on this technology is for mobile devices only, NOT for automotive or any other industries. ONLY MOBILE. And the automotive industry has this Tech in cars that are on the market already.

2. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

maybe i should trademark the names of any possible future ios devices.

4. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Apple already has a working prototype of this technology -- the good news for Apple's competitors is that the technology is still not ready for mass deployment.

14. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

do you work for Apple???

16. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

You don't have to work for Apple given that hindsight is 20/20 -- meaning anyone can verify the facts on a posteriori basis.

33. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

Next please...

6. rf1975

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

You can take any patent, we do not care. Because our Samy can bring all those to non iOS devices using their innovative copying technology.....

27. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010

And it'll be better...

8. derricob

Posts: 25; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

I think this is more for desktops/laptops then mobile devices. If you look at the diagram it uses oxygen from fans to use the electricity to power the device. Unless Apple plans on making ultra thin, quiet fans for mobile devices we're not going to see this on an iPhone/iPad

9. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

hope so.. but even if that were the case apple likes to make its patents general enough to cover pretty much everything it's related too...

20. thebikerboi2

Posts: 144; Member since: Apr 01, 2011

well ultra thin vents are posible but i think that having it in a mobile device with the current technology avaliable would just make it big and bulky.

11. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

You can't underestimate Apple... they've been working under secrecy for a number of years now, we don't know for sure what Apple has been doing in the past year(s) about this technology other than working on designs because that's what we hear from ppl who believe and underestimate the secrecy of Apple. Nobody knows what Apple has in store for consumers and you in fact will never know the truth about whats really going on at Apple. Apple could release this technology sooner than we think. Fact.

12. jacko unregistered

all it is just more patents to sue people and slow down technology i wonder who they stole that idea off and making it there own

15. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

I love Apple but let the truth be told, they á known for sueing left right n center, and theynmake extra cash from sueing other manufacturers, thiis another way of blocking innovations and to sue #JustMyOpinion

19. Skoll

Posts: 15; Member since: Dec 15, 2011

this is all great but they patented an idea of how it SHOULD work and not how it WORKS so the patent system is stupid.

21. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Dang if the normal iPhones blow up, imagine the blast if apple pops fuels cells in them

22. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

Apple patented again something that doesn't exist just only to lock block innovation

25. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

if it doesnt exist... then they dont block anyone.. right?...

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