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Apple land-grabs fuel cells for mobiles

Too late to patent the battery, after all

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

And the patent land-grab continues unabated, with Apple filing patent applications to forestall anybody else trying to plug smartphones into fuel cells.

As far as El Reg can tell, Cupertino hasn’t actually built a fuel-cell-powered-cellphone, so we presume its two patent applications merely indicate directions in its research.

It would be a handy blocker, since the patent applications cover the fuel cell system, a controller, the fuel source, the interface between the fuel cell and the portable computing device, and the coupling of a fuel cell to the portable computing device. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether Apple can or can’t actually build a fuel-celled-cellphone, just so long as nobody else can, that’s all that matters.

Oh, yeah, there’s also the prospect of long-life iPhones. That’s what has people like Mashable excited: “This sounds like a dream to owners of most modern smartphones, which barely last a day of heavy use.”

Well, yes. And Apple makes pious statements in the patent applications: “Our country's continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling.”

Isn’t it nice to know that someone cares? ®

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