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Apple patent application  (Source: Apple Insider)

Apple patent application  (Source: Apple Insider)
Apple is looking to create, lighter, more efficient devices using fuel cells

Apple is interested in making fuel cell-powered mobile devices, according to Apple patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

According to two published Apple patent applications, called "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device" and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device," Apple is looking to build lighter and smaller mobile devices like MacBooks (Air, Pro) by replacing current batteries with a fuel cell system.

This may not come as a surprise to many, since Apple has filed other patent applications for lighter hydrogen fuel cells. Those patents, which were brought to light this past October, described a building process where multiple fuel cells are connected by a power bus in a parallel pattern, and a voltage-multiplying circuit is added for additional voltage to the stack.

Now, Apple hopes to utilize these lighter, more efficient fuel cells in its mobile products in an effort to promote renewable energy sources and offer devices with the ability to run for days or even weeks without refueling, according to the patent applications. The devices will also be lighter and less bulky due to the lack of traditional batteries.

The first patent application, "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device," states Apple's case for wanting to use fuel cell technology in their devices. While current fuel cell technology for mobile products requires the user to carry a fuel cartridge for recharging purposes, Apple wants to integrate fuel cells right into their electronics.

The second patent application, "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device," describes how the fuel cell system would work with a rechargeable battery where one would power the other when necessary, and vice versa.

"This eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel system, which can significantly reduce the size, weight, and cost of the fuel system," said the second patent application. "This fuel system includes a fuel stack cell which converts fuel into electrical power. It also includes a controller which controls operation of the fuel cell system."

One challenge will be creating a hydrogen fuel cell system that is cost-effective, according to Apple.

Both patents were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010.

Sources: CNET, Apple Insider

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RE: Idea?
By Tony Swash on 12/23/2011 7:09:43 PM , Rating: -1
I am sorry - it's late and I clicked the wrong button and posted an incomplete post by mistake. Here is final version of my comment.

Unless one is obtuse I would have thought that the difference between a tactic and a strategic aim is fairly clear. One is a means to get to what is desired, a tactic is a mechanism to achieve a desired end but is not the end itself.

Apple put a lot of effort into making very distinctive products and having a very distinctive brand, that is why when they think people are copying their products and when they think they have a patent that covers it they will sue. As part of the legal process and in order to induce their competitors to remove the offending copied item they will use the threat or actuality of a legal product ban where it is available.

Although a ban might fortuitously (from Apple's point of view) temporarily prevent one or more of their competitors from selling in various markets they know that there is absolutely not the remotest chance that they could prevent their competitors from selling competing products for any length of time, or even permanently. To pursue such a strategy, of seeking a permanent legal ban, would be a ludicrous strategy and Apple's corporate leadership seem to be anything but ludicrous, they seem (based on their recent track record) to be rather good at their jobs.

So I think the most rational analysis of Apple's motivations and strategy is the one I, along with many other commentators on other sites, have put forward which is that Apple wants to ensure through a persistent and attritional legal campaign that their competitors are deterred from copying the general appearance of Apple's products as well as some of the distinctive parts of it's product design.

Whatever the outcome of any individual legal case unless Apple loses every single one (which seems unlikely) then Apple will probably succeed. But it will take a while. This is going to be a long war.

RE: Idea?
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/24/2011 9:49:28 AM , Rating: 2
You can explain it how ever you like, it's obvious they are trying to get the competitors removed from the market. When they try to get a NEW design banned as well, it's quite obvious at this point. But as usual, you'll come up with some half cocked story trying to push your way on people to try to convince them this is good. It's not, plain and simple.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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