I'm not a Mac person. I don't like the culture, I don't like the cost, and I definitely don't like having Apple tell me what I can and can't do. But if Apple manages to create a MacBook powered by a fuel cell (and new patents suggest they're working on it), then that's it. Game over. I'll be buying a MacBook.
Companies like Apple toss up patents on things all the time, whether or not they actually plan to develop the patented idea or technology into a product. That said, (and maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part) a fuel cell could be borderline realistic as a way to power a laptop within the next few years. Fuel cells offer much more than just an alternative to a battery: we're talking about using hydrogen to power a laptop "for days or even weeks." Weeks! It would also be smaller, lighter, and more compact than the batteries that we've come to rely on, and to instantly recharge it, you'd just plug in a new hydrogen cartridge.
While the advantages of fuel cells are huge, they're not as wildly far-off as it might seem. I tried one out a while back, and since then, they've gotten dramatically smaller and more efficient. We might not be at the stage where we can integrate a practical fuel cell into a laptop quite yet, but if Apple can make it happen, they'll be fundamentally changing the whole portable electronics game. Again.
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