According to a new filing at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple has been thinking about building a charger that would double as an external battery. The idea is that external batteries such as HyperMac (now called HyperJuice) work, but they also represent an sizeable amount of volume, weight and cables that the user needs to transport and deal with. It is safe to say that an integrated solution would make life much easier as it would cut down on things that need to be transported and connected.
According to the schematics, Apple also envisioned a wireless communication protocol, and a secondary power input for portable solar panels (and other -less reliable- electric sources). This could be a great product and it is probably one more reason for Apple to have engaged (and won) a legal battle with the creators of HyperMac. With a tight control over the SafeMag power connector, Apple should not have difficulties winning the battery accessory battle if it decides to commercialize the idea. The question is: how big is it going to be? It’s doubtful that Apple can double the battery life without an enormous size increase of the power-supply/battery, but would a 50% increase in battery life be good enough for you? Also, what should this be priced? A “normal” Apple power supply is already quite expensive, so what will happen if a good chunk of Lithium-polymer is added to the bill of material (BOM)?