Earlier this month Samsung went on the offensive in a desperate attempt to breathe some new life into their terrible selling Galaxy S5. The ad which was called Wall Huggers, pointed to the iPhone having lousy battery life. The tech news site BGR posted a report stating that Samsung's new iPhone-bashing ad was truer than Apple would like to admit. Some agree, some disagreed, but the issue of today's mobile devices having miserable battery life in general came to the fore once again. So is it any wonder that those in the fuel cell business wanted to stir a little interest their way by dumping Apple's name into a fresh new rumor. The UK's Daily Mail Online is boosting UK's Intelligent Energy profile today by claiming that the company is working with Apple on a next-generation energy solution.
According to the Daily Mail Online – "fuel cell firm Intelligent Energy is working with Apple on a secret partnership that could propel the recently-floated British technology champion into the big leagues. Senior sources in the US told the Mail that the two firms hope to embed fuel cells in electronic devices such as laptops and mobiles within a few years.
The technology could be rolled out in devices such as laptops and iPads, allowing them to run without being charged for days or even weeks.
Intelligent Energy already has strong links with Apple, having recruited former Apple Computers product specialist Joe O'Sullivan to its board as chief operating officer." Yet that was three years ago and that doesn't mean there's a "strong link to Apple."
After being confident about their rumor, the Daily Mail Online report then shifted to "if Mode": "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."
According to the report, Intelligent Energy "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."
Patently Apple was first to cover Apple's first and most important patent application regarding the use of fuel cells in future mobile devices back in late 2011 in a report titled "The Race is on for Next Generation Fuel Cell Powered Devices." Then in 2013 we posted a report titled "A Fascinating Liquidmetal Patent from Apple Surfaces in Europe" that briefly discussed the use of fuel cells in relation to a liquid metal. Apple's patent stated that "These articles may be, for example, stacked printed circuit boards providing through or via holes for disposition of circuit elements, or may be stacked fuel cells with openings for passage of fuel or air."
Yet why couldn't Google be Intelligent Energy's "secret partner?" Google also has a patent application on the use of fuel cells for future mobile devices too. Our Patently Mobile site covered Google's patent in a report titled "One of Google's Latest Inventions Relates to Fuel Cell Systems."
In the end it sounds like a great rumor. Yet if Apple were truly working with Intelligent Energy they'd have the company in a position of signing a confidentiality clause that would ensure leaks of this nature would be highly improbable at this early stage of the game.
There's no doubt that fuel cells could play an important role in the future of powering mobile devices and the industry is desperate to advance battery life so that newer generations of smart devices could properly support yet newer features. Both Apple and Google are known to be working on fuel cell technology as an alternative energy source, but it could be years away before it ever sees the light of day and many other developments could arise in this field that could be a game changer. Will be see fuel cells coming to iDevices in the future? Perhaps, but today's rumor certainly didn't provide us with any new meaningful insights.
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