A British technology company has developed an iPhone that can go a week without recharging, running instead off a built-in hydrogen fuel cell.
Intelligent Energy has made a working iPhone 6 prototype containing a rechargeable battery and its own patented technology, which creates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, producing only small amounts of water and heat as waste.
The company is believed to be working closely with Apple. In what it claims is a world first, it has incorporated a fuel cell system into the iPhone 6 without any alteration to the size or shape of the device. The only cosmetic differences compared with other handsets are rear vents so an imperceptible amount of water vapour can escape.
Intelligent Energy said it is now considering the cartridge's sale price.
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Executives believe that for the price of a latte, a market worth as much as 300 billion ($721 billion) a year could open up.
Chief executive Henri Winand, who refused to comment on rumours of Apple involvement, said: "To our knowledge this has never been done before.
"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."
On the prototype fuel cell iPhone hydrogen gas is refuelled via an adapted headphone socket.
For the commercial launch the company is developing a disposable cartridge that would slot into the bottom of future smartphones and contain enough hydrogen-releasing powder for a week of normal use without recharging.
Corporate finance chief Mark Lawson-Statham said: "Our view is that this is a couple of years out but really it's about how quickly does our partner want to press the button and get on with it?" Apple declined to comment.