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Apple's Next Big Move?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yesterday, October 21, 2010, Steve Jobs met with President Obama. One of the topics they discussed was energy independence. In a previous interview with Walt Mossberg, Steve had mentioned that he was interested in alternative energy.

If Apple could acquire the expertise and ability to produce a device, a fuel cell the size of say a microwave oven, that would power your house, imagine the market. Imagine the value of a share of Apple stock!

I remember a few years ago reading that General Motors was working on such a device and they expected it to come to market within 3 to 5 years. It didn't.

Today, Apple is the company that could make that big move. Apple is the company that could succeed where others have failed. Apple would be the most important company in the universe and Steve Jobs' legacy would be unparalleled. At this point it's about legacy.
post #2 of 14
Apple makes 10 hour lithium ion batteries for laptops and mobile devices. This is nonsense.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Apple makes 10 hour lithium ion batteries for laptops and mobile devices. This is nonsense.

Nonsense? May be, may be not. I understand the chances that Apple would attempt to make a power pack that could provide electricity to individual households is not great. And even less that they could be successful in doing so. And you are correct, Apple makes 10 hour lithium batteries for laptops and mobile devices. Not only do they make the batteries but they designed and built an improved battery not seen before. Apple also designed and built a cell phone never seen before in the iPhone.

Ask yourself, how were they able to make these products. How did they do it, I know that I couldn't, could you? Part of the answer to how they did it has to be in the skill sets that Steve Jobs possesses. Not only is he a visionary, but he is able to attract and motivate talented people that are able to provide the expertise necessary to accomplish a mission that he might set out.

If General Motors (automobile manufacturer) thought they could make such a power pac, it doesn't seem out of the question that Apple might think likewise. After all Apple designed and built a power pac for its laptops and mobile devices.

There are other companies pursuing this goal, and as a small investor I would welcome Apple exploring the possibilities. The risks are great, but success in this area would astronomical + n. I am not going to sell my  stock anytime soon. If Mr. Jobs has the passion to tackle this project, I wouldn't bet against him.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by starburst View Post

Apple would be the most important company in the universe and Steve Jobs' legacy would be unparalleled. At this point it's about legacy.

Already done IMO. Steve Jobs helped build 6 of the most important technology developments and they won't be forgotten quickly:

- the original Mac with GUI (original AIO too)
- Pixar animation studios giving us photoreal programmable 3D graphics
- NextStep (and subsequently OS X) making a unix system for the rest of us (which shipped with Pixar's software for 3D graphics)
- the iMac, showing that machines don't have to be utilitarian beige boxes but stylish appliances
- the iPod and legitimate digital music purchases
- the iPhone, changing what we expect from a phone device

There's also the part about helping turn a bankrupt company into one of the most valuable companies in the world to such an extent that it could run for the next 25 years without making a single penny.

That's not to say they should rest on their laurels of course and I think alternative energy is a great thing to invest in but until someone figures out how to do it properly, it's like investing in Cancer Research.

Apple's technical resources are limited so they will make advances where they have their expertise. I'm not sure if the battery tech is even their own. I know they said they do their own chemical processes but their AAs are rebranded eneloops.

Everyone's goal is to put generators inside every device and personally I think the most sensible way to do that is to find a way to turn oxygen into electricity with harmless byproducts. It may take some organic research to mimic how the human body uses oxygen using some synthetic tissue-like material or given that we already use nuclear processes to harness huge amounts of power, that method is an option too. Fusion obviously though.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Marvin thank you for your discussion, It's nice to see an intelligent post every now and then.

"A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel into an electric current. It generates electricity inside a cell through reactions between a fuel and an oxidant, triggered in the presence of an electrolyte. The reactants flow into the cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains within it. Fuel cells can operate continuously as long as the necessary reactant and oxidant flows are maintained.

Fuel cells are different from conventional electrochemical cell batteries in that they consume reactant from an external source, which must be replenished a thermodynamically open system. By contrast, batteries store electrical energy chemically and hence represent a thermodynamically closed system.

Many combinations of fuels and oxidants are possible. A hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen as its fuel and oxygen (usually from air) as its oxidant. Other fuels include hydrocarbons and alcohols. Other oxidants include chlorine and chlorine dioxide." Wikipedia

Bloom Energy is a company that is powering the offices of Google, eBay, FedEx, Adobe and others with fuel cells that use natural gas as the fuel. The cost of the electricity is less than that off of the grid, eBay says that the Bloom Boxes have saved them $100,000 over the past 9 months. The founder of Bloom expects to have units that will power individual households in 5 to 7 years. Maybe Apple could partner with Bloom? Or maybe they can stand on Bloom's shoulders and make a better fuel cell. I'm not making this up; Goggle "Bloom Energy Box". As an older investor I would prefer to see Apple perfect the fuel cell then move on to finding the cure for cancer.
post #6 of 14
I realize you are just speculating, but really this idea is completely goggle-eyed. Apple is a great consumer products company. What expertise do they have in working with exotic technologies like fuel cells? What's the connection to what they're doing now? Notice that whenever Apple has glommed onto a new technology, like unibody aluminum construction, it was to advance products that they already knew how to make. Suggesting that Apple should go far outside of their competencies to attempt to accomplish something which doesn't even fit into their product scheme. Well, that's beyond unrealistic -- it's phantasmagoric, I think. I certainly hope that Apple hasn't gotten to the same point as some of their fans, where they actually start believing that they can do anything.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I realize you are just speculating, but really this idea is completely goggle-eyed.


Dr. Millmoss, your comments surprise me. If we would think for just a moment I know we could name any number of successful American and International Corporations that produce products that are entirely unrelated to one another. I'll start with General Electric, they make hundreds of products from movies to wind turbines. See all their products at http://www.ge.com/products_services/...y_product.html. And the list of companies could go on and on.

Apple is on track to become the richest company in the world. Steve Jobs has previously expressed concern with America's Energy outlook and his interest in alternate energy sources. Why do you think the President wanted to talk with Steve Jobs about America's dependence on foreign energy supplies among other subjects? Doc you are correct, Apple has no expertise with fuel cells. But they certainly have the ability to acquire that expertise and that ability is one factor of their success. All I said was I would like to see Apple explore the possibilities. If Steve Jobs could pull it off, he would be the next Thomas Edison, as you know he was the founder of General Electric.

Doctor lighten up, think outside the box, after all you are a P.H.D. aren't you? Who's next?
post #8 of 14
I'm not a PhD and I don't play one on the internet -- but I am a GE stockholder, so you don't need to tell me about GE. They became the model for the diversified mega-corporaton but before you wish something like that on Apple, you might want to take a look at GE's growth curve, not to mention their recent stock performance. In a word, it sucks and has sucked for about ten years. Because they were so diversified, they were heavily exposed to the credit markets through GE Capital, which all alone, cut the stock price in half, from which it has not recovered. The formula for GE worked under the ruthless leadership of Jack Welch, but GE is now shedding some of the baggage it acquired during the Welsh years, such as NBC. In short, if you're looking for a model for Apple going forward, GE is not it. Apple is a far better company than GE.

If lightening up means not challenging your premise, then by all means, I will not lighten up.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey doc, No, lightening up means get some help. Don't worry, I'm here for you. Listen Doc, maybe you should unload your GE stock and buy more Apple. I hope you feel better now.

Well so much for the good Dr Millmoss. It's a shame that he threw a hissy fit, I really wanted to know why he thought the President would meet with Mr. Jobs to discuss energy issues.

I guess I am the only one in the world that wonders why they would meet and discuss energy issues. I wonder if Al Gore knows?
post #10 of 14
Sorry for trying to make you rationalize your argument.

The president spent less than an hour talking with Steve Jobs. My guess is they spent more of that time talking about checks than plotting the future of the planet. Just a guess, mind you, this being a hot election season and the president being on a campaign and fund raising swing through California.

So anyhow, your full-on snark does not change the fact that GE is a terrible example of what Apple should become. Not that you even tried to refute anything I said about that. And as an Apple stockholder since 1997, I've got more than enough. But thank you very much for the investing advice.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey Doc, Good morning, your apology is accepted. Insanity is a curse.

Thank you for your answer. No need to refute what you said, it is what it is.

I'm glad that I was able to help and you are welcome.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by starburst View Post

Bloom Energy is a company that is powering the offices of Google, eBay, FedEx, Adobe and others with fuel cells that use natural gas as the fuel.

Fuel cells certainly seem like the ideal solution but they'd have to use oxygen as the oxidant for portable devices. The magnesium-air fuel cell is interesting:

http://www.magpowersystems.com/mafc

but the magnesium part degrades over time as do some parts in all fuel cells. Bulky too despite being 90% efficient - probably due to the surface area required to react with and amount of material required to degrade. A honeycomb structure would give quite a high surface area but would degrade even more quickly.

As long as the degrading part lasted a reasonable length of time, it would be fine and even if it released the energy slowly it would be ok too so long as it could keep charging a main battery up to give you longer time away from the plug.

Bloom energy is probably ok for homes and offices but another breakthrough will be needed for portable electronics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Millmoss

My guess is they spent more of that time talking about checks than plotting the future of the planet.

Possibly iPads in schools. No point in giving away expensive spying Macbooks that gets a school fined over $600k for abusing when an iPad is lighter and cheaper.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Possibly iPads in schools. No point in giving away expensive spying Macbooks that gets a school fined over $600k for abusing when an iPad is lighter and cheaper.

What would be the point? The White House hardly makes that kind of policy. In any event, we in California we could hardly help noticing that the President made this trip to raise money for the party and to support Barbara Boxer. It was all about get-out-the-vote campaign rallies and fund-raisers and nothing about policy. In this part of the country we hardly ever see presidents. When we do (and the same was true for Bush), it is to flog the wealthy for dough.

But forget that... their discussion was probably about revolutionary new fuel cells for consumer electronics, and it just couldn't wait until after November 2.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjskier99 View Post

i think they are going to invest their efforts on identifying new competitors and acquiring them to nip them in the butt

Hi, Welcome to these forums and thank you for your post.
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