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Power Hardware Apple

Apple Files Patent For Fuel Cell Laptops 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the 100-words-per-gallon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple Insider reports that Apple recently filed two patents for a new breed of fuel cell-powered laptop computers. The devices would eschew lithium ion batteries in favor of fuel cells that are capable of running for weeks without requiring a recharge. The patents are entitled 'Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device' and oeFuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."
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Apple Files Patent For Fuel Cell Laptops

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  • by Sitnalta (1051230) on Friday December 23, 2011 @06:41AM (#38469740)

    I hate this because it means Apple wants to start selling consumable fuel cartridges.

    I love this because it means I won't have to play retard roundup with power outlets and adapters when traveling.

    • Re:Dichotomy (Score:5, Informative)

      by w0mprat (1317953) on Friday December 23, 2011 @06:53AM (#38469798)
      Trichotomy: You'll hate it again because you can't find the apple power you travel or the one reseller over charges. Oh you better be getting there by cruise ship because NO way would these be allowed on a plane.
      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        An external battery pack has about 80% of the energy of a hand grenade stored in it and can get past the, uh, highly trained TSA agents. Heck, you could probably carry a hand grenade on if you put an Apple logo on it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by mythar (1085839)
          Picking up terrorist demographic with patent for "Hand Grenade System to Power a Portable Computing Device".
    • by sjames (1099)

      I noticed that the cart has an eeprom like toner and ink carts for printers. That's fairly ugly since it indicates that they likely want to make dirt cheap methanol more expensive than the finest wine. Assuming a modest $3 for a cart, that's $0.30/hour

      Meanwhile, if a conventional laptop was either fitted with a small holdover battery or with 2 batteries, they could be hot swapped for continuous operation and cost a bit over a penny an hour to operate on battery (that counts electricity to recharge AND batte

  • by swell (195815) <jabberwock@p[ ]ic.com ['oet' in gap]> on Friday December 23, 2011 @06:56AM (#38469820)

    Isn't it enough that Apple products are already prone to fires and explosions?

    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      That's probably the only feature they won't try to patent. But probably have considered it anyway at some point.
  • Recharge? (Score:5, Funny)

    by deniable (76198) on Friday December 23, 2011 @07:13AM (#38469886)
    Woo hoo. Apple are back to removable batteries.
    • by CaptBubba (696284)

      No, more like removable fuel cartridges which I'm sure will be totally sealed and chipped so you will only be able to buy them from Apple.

      I think Apple got upset that they weren't getting Apple markups every time someone installed extra electrons into their macbook via the charger.

  • by gb7djk (857694) * on Friday December 23, 2011 @07:48AM (#38470014) Homepage
    Toshiba have demonstrated fuel cells for laptops since at least 2006. They may not be pretty, but the principle should not be patentable (at least by Apple). http://www.pcworld.com/article/157606/toshibas_fuel_cell_laptop.html [pcworld.com]
    • by maroberts (15852) on Friday December 23, 2011 @07:56AM (#38470048) Homepage Journal

      Toshiba have demonstrated fuel cells for laptops since at least 2006. They may not be pretty, but the principle should not be patentable (at least by Apple).

      http://www.pcworld.com/article/157606/toshibas_fuel_cell_laptop.html [pcworld.com]

      From an extremely quick glance, Apples patent seems to be for a failry specific implementation of a hydrogen driven system, not Toshiba's methanol driven system. Also the patent diagrams illustrates a number of elements required in their design, so I would guess that it is their complete implementation that they're patenting not the general principle.

      • by RenHoek (101570)

        so I would guess that it is their complete implementation that they're patenting not the general principle.

        Do you think that would stop them filing injunctions for anything that even remotely resembles a generic fuel cell?

      • So if Toshiba Says that the "hydrogen" fuel cell is only for Toshiba laptops then thats a whole new patent?

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:05AM (#38470640)

      Sorry to say it a bit bluntly, but you like so many others have obviously not a single clue about what a patent is, and what it is for.

      A patent is for very specific inventions. Now of course the idea of "putting a fuel cell in a laptop" is of course not patentable, and that's not what Apple patents. From the first glance that I have the core of the patent revolves around the fuel cell itself, they did something innovative to it to make it suitable for these very small scale applications as for example in laptops. It being Apple, laptops of course are the first application they think of. But the same tech might be used to power your phone, or when scaled the other direction to power your car, who knows. But afaict it's the fuel cell where the invention is in.

      There is no way Apple or any other company will be able to patent "fuel cell powered laptop". They can only patent a very specific way of doing this, or a very specific fuel cell implementation, so specific that if a patent is written incorrectly changing the voltage of your implementation may already circumvent it.

      • Yeah! And it's not like Apple patents things that are unoriginal. I mean I can't find a single item anywhere that didn't have round corners before the iPod/iPhone/iPad. It was like living in a MineCraft world! And it's not like Apple would intentionally write their patents all vaguely so they could sue anybody for anything vaguely similar, I mean it's never happened before has it?

        OK, sorry about that. I completely understand what you are trying to say but you're talking about what the patent system claims t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wvmarle (1070040)

          And now you're mixing up regular "invention-type" patents and design patents as well.

          Admittedly I haven't read the design patent, but one thing for sure: they haven't patented "rounded corners". They have patented a complete look, and with that prevent other manufacturers to make one that looks exactly or almost exactly like theirs. They sued Samsung because the Samsung devices look very much like Apple's devices, and Apple thinks it's too close alike.

          Apple will not get far suing just anyone using fuel cell

  • . . . against as yet unknown potential infringement parties, who shall be named later. Then they could get the courts to ban competitors' products from store shelves, even before they are produced.

    See, the system is efficient and does work, if used correctly.

  • I could swear I saw reports of companies building experimental Notebook fuel cells years ago ...

    • I could swear I saw reports of companies building experimental Notebook fuel cells years ago ...

      did you? OK, well... in order for your comment to be on topic, you must tell us, please... how exactly is that prior art? I'm afraid that your complete lack of understanding what prior art is does not qualify you for commenting in this discussion. Back up... try again, please. If you must, since this is an Apple-related summary, feel free to troll for karma points.

      • by garry_g (106621)

        Well, it may be the first time APPLE is doing it, but others have been there, done that ...

        http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Panasonic-Fuel-Cell-Prototype,6516.html [tomshardware.com] (2008)
        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/29/lg_chem_fuel_cell/ [theregister.co.uk] (2005)
        http://news.cnet.com/2100-1008_3-1022130.html [cnet.com] (2003)

        If any patent office employee granted a patent on the idea of using a fuel cell in notebooks, they are obviously incapable of doing a simple google search and should therefore be fired for being unfit to do their job ...

        • Ok, you've just wasted our time again. I implore you to do a little more research in understanding what a patent is, what is patentable, and what prior art is before campeigning against Apple. See... what happens is you appear to be a busy body idiot, lashing out with irrellivant facts... promote facts that are irrellivant to the discussion because it is obvious that you have absolutely no understanding of the subject about which you are commenting. Perhaps you should consider what Wittgenstein said about
  • by decora (1710862) on Friday December 23, 2011 @08:12AM (#38470100) Journal

    oh wait, apple patented the beowulf cluster.

  • Seriously? Are we going to post every single story about a major tech company filing a patent for something? Or are we just going to do it when Apple files a patent because "they are teh evil!!"? I mean, come on! "Major tech company files patent for new tech - news at 11!" Uh. Yeah. Happens _literally_ every single day.

    One of the worst non-stories I've seen in a while...
  • The power supply is a discrete subsystem and should not be construed as sufficiently integral to the device it powers to allow such a broad patent. Will Apple now patent the replacement of a substation transformer to extract royalties from the power company?
  • Previous Patent: USAGE OF REGENERATIVE BRAKE POWER FOR SYSTEM RESTART IN START-STOP OPERATION OF FUEL CELL HYBRID VEH...
    Next Patent: INTEGRATED SYSTEM FOR ELECTROCHEMICAL ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM

    -----

    it's official, the patent system is just a joke. a computer could generate these patent titles and a monkey could do the write ups.

    • it's official, the patent system is just a joke. a computer could generate these patent titles and a monkey could do the write ups.

      Yes... but you are well aware you only belive this to be true regarding Apple patents. Except for anything Apple does, the patent system is broken just fine. If Apple tries to use it, then it is broken beyond recognition and just another tool for Apple's world domination. Seriously... Microsoft, Google, Samsung... could pen the same EXACT patent, and no one would care because beating up the retarted pulsy kid just doesn't have the same interest it once did, and it is now a vastly more popular activity to

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      a computer could generate these patent titles and a monkey could do the write ups.

      Oh sure, give our jobs to the monkeys. This is a down economy sir. Shame on you!

  • If a patent troll had gotten hold of this patent they would have... oh wait.

  • Prior art? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joaommp (685612) on Friday December 23, 2011 @10:23AM (#38470778) Homepage Journal

    Apple sure does like to patent stuff they didn't invent.

  • Well, they sold a fuel cell for one (they had a portable music player with a fuel cell as well but I can't remember if it was widely available) and they still sell an external unit with a set of adapters for pretty much any notebook. The product is called "Dynario", it's been around since 2003.

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