Brit-based hydrogen fuel cell maker Intelligent Energy (IE) reckons it has developed an iPhone that can run for a week after one charge of the battery - which might just help massage the loss-making firm’s bottom line.
The Loughborough-based business has produced a working prototype of Apple’s sixth generation smartmobe integrated with both a rechargeable battery and its own patented technology.
The fuel cell, which creates electricity by mixing hydrogen and oxygen, produces a small amount of heat and water vapour that is then released from vents at the back of the Jesus mobe, it said.
“To our knowledge this has never been done before,” CEO Henri Winand told The Telegraph.
“We have now managed to make a fuel cell so thin we can fit it to the existing chassis without alterations and retaining the rechargeable battery. This is a major step because if you are moving to a new technology you have to give people a path they are comfortable with.”
Hydrogen gas is refuelled by an adapted headphone socket, the company revealed.
IE is mulling over the sale price of the cartridges, but the report indicated it could be a little as a cup of milky coffee.
The cartridge would come loaded with a sufficient amount of hydrogen-releasing powder to power an iPhone 6 for a week of average usage - it didn’t state how many hours this covers.
Forget bigger screens sizes, better cameras or thinner devices, this could be the lure that entices consumers to upgrade, though full scale production and commercial release remain some years off.
If things go as planned for IE, the fuel cells could open up the huge Apple iPhone customer base - one part of the US giant that keeps on growing. The company sold 47.5 million iPhones in its Q3 alone.
IE is understood to be working with the Palo Alto-based corporation but refused to confirm this.
Apple has already launched Upp, IE’s hand held portable hydrogen fuel cell across its retail network in Blighty.
“As intended, it provided IE with valuable information on consumer behaviour regarding energy consumption and it is the first commercial step in our roadmap to deploying embedded technology in consumer electronics,” LSE-listed IE stated in May when it outlined financials.
In the six months to 31 March 2015, IE reported adjusted EBITDA losses of £23.7m, almost as high as its turnover of £27.4m, as it beefed up R&D spending. Loss after tax was £21.4m and it had net cash of £58.2m. ®