The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office have received proposals from Apple that indicate the electronics company is working on products powered by hydrogen fuel cells, that they claim have the potential to stay charged for weeks, and "eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery."
Remarks by the company in the patent fillings would indicate that the proposal to shift to hydrogen fueled products was influenced not by user experience but customer awareness:
"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. These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources."
A hydrogen fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy. The Telegraph notes that the technology has long been touted as a potential power source for cleaner cars and electronics manufacturers have shown growing interest in replacing batteries with such fuels cells that would last longer and produce only water as a by-product.
In October, another pair of Apple patent applications were published showing that the company was looking into ways to grasp more fuel from lighter hydrogen fuel cels. The Daily Mail notes that while the iPhone 4s was released shortly after Apple icon Steve Jobs's death, "a technological breakthrough like an entirely different battery would be a massive upswing for the company."
Check out a diagram presented to the patent office with Apple's proposal: