The patent is for a fuel cell system which will be a small internal power source that wouldn’t add weight to the flagship laptop. It refers specifically to Apple’s MagSafe charger for MacBooks, which indicates that it might not be used for iPhones or iPads.
A report on Wired notes that the patent includes a number of potential fuel sources which would be mixed with water.
Potential fuels, according to Apple’s patent, include borohydride, sodium silicate, lithium hydride, magnesium hydride, a hydrocarbon and compressed or liquid hydrogen and others.
Fuel cells work by mixing a fuel such as hydrogen with oxidising agent like water or oxygen and unlike batteries, these don’t need refueling once they are run out and can last for weeks.
The patent further details that the purported fuel cell system will be in the form of a removable cartridge that could be slotted in and would likely operate alongside a normal battery.
The tech giant is rumoured to be working with Intelligent Energy to incorporate fuel cell systems into current and future iPhone models.
While these patents give an insight into what the tech biggies are working on, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a conversion to real products. Like all patents, the one by Apple too is a mere indication about the possibility of robust battery backup in near future.