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Apple-Tesla talks fuel dreams of advanced battery tech, deeper iOS in the Car integration

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
With word recently leaking that high ranking officials from Apple and Tesla have met, observers have been whipped up into a frenzy about what the two parties, from two very different industries, could have discussed. But there is one major tech component that is especially crucial to both Tesla and Apple: Batteries.

iPad Air teardown
The inside of Apple's mobile devices is almost all battery. Photo via iFixit.


When talks between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple's mergers and acquisitions chief were first revealed on Sunday, immediate speculation centered around whether Apple, with some $160 billion in cash, would buy Tesla, which has a market cap of about $24 billion. Most, however, have dismissed that possibility, and are instead focused on potential partnerships between the two companies.

One possible alignment could be for Apple to offer tighter integration of its iOS devices with Tesla's vehicles, or even to help design the user interface, which is already heavily reliant on touchscreens. However, that move would have limited reach for Apple, which sells tens of millions of devices every quarter, while Tesla for now remains a high-end brand with limited mass-market appeal.

Thinking in the more immediate term, some market watchers have speculated that Apple could be interested in Tesla's proprietary battery technology, leading to smaller and more efficient mobile devices in the future.

Batteries are of course essential to Apple's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad. A peek inside either device shows that the internal space is overwhelmingly taken up by a lithium-ion battery that allows hours of uptime.

Batteries are an area of expertise for Tesla, the world's leading maker of all-electric cars. Tesla's vehicles are powered by the same lithium-ion battery technology that drives Apple's portable devices.

Tesla
A Tesla Roadster battery pack, via Getty Images.


The car manufacturer has made great advances in the manufacturing and efficiency of those batteries, with a full recharge on its vehicles now capable in just over an hour. Tesla is also working on battery swap stations that will give drivers a new, fully-charged battery in their vehicle in just 90 seconds.

But Tesla still faces battery shortages for its vehicles -- something the company plans to address by building its own factory and controlling the manufacturing process entirely. Musk, the company's CEO, has said that the new mega-factory would be comparable to all of the existing lithium-ion production in the world, all accomplished at one facility.

Musk has promised that his company's new battery manufacturing center will be eco-friendly, reusing old battery packs and relying greatly on solar power. The CEO has also said the facility will "most likely" be in North America.

As its devices become smaller and more powerful, Apple has shown considerable interest in new and advanced battery technologies. One report from earlier this month suggested that Apple is looking at solar and wireless inductive charging methods for its rumored wrist-worn "iWatch" accessory, a device the company is believed to be preparing for a potential late 2014 debut.

There's also evidence from patent filings that Apple is interested in new curved battery designs that could fit into slimmer, more shapely portable devices. And one recent report suggested Apple has explored so-called "stepped" battery technology created by LG that could take different shapes and offer better longevity than existing options.
post #2 of 31

A custom version of built-in iOS designed to manage the Tesla line–completely subverting the Android rumors–would be fine by me.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #3 of 31
"Apple-Tesla talks fuel dreams of...." an Apple designed all electric self driven urban vehicle. A 'volkswagen' of the future.
post #4 of 31
Well, Tesla can't be iOS only, that would be very stupid for obvious reasons. A partnership or some sort of licensing for that battery tech, even in future iCars would be beneficial for both companies. Apple could help a lot in expanding those charging stations worldwide.

I think we are reaching a point were people must accept that they have the same right of driving cars as they do with planes. It's not supposed to be a "fun" experience, people die because of it and roads are public. Every time someone drives a car, someone else can be killed. Only public transportations should be allowed in cities, for example.

Something big is coming.

If someone thinks that they have a right to drive their cars, they should be allowed. Inside their houses.
post #5 of 31
There's an even more interesting potential connection. Elon Musk is Chairman of Solar City. They are using Tesla's battery tech to increase the practicality of solar.

http://www.solarcity.com/residential/energy-storage.aspx

Rather obviously, Apple is building a LOT of solar capacity right now....
post #6 of 31

I don't understand why Apple, a company that is clearly aware of current battery technologies, still uses relatively dated Ni-MH for their own rechargeable AA kit instead of the Lithium-Polymer used by "pro" rechargeable kits. Sure, the latter costs more, but it also requires much less frequent recharging.

 

Note I'm saying "I don't understand why," not "I think Apple is wrong." Maybe it's as simple as cost vs. perceived value, maybe there are technical reasons I don't know about. It just seems odd that the rechargeable batteries in my mouse at work are better than the ones supplied by Apple.

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

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Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply
post #7 of 31

$10 bucks to a donut that Samsung was on the blower to Musk right after this story broke looking to outbid Apple. That's just what Samsung does…the annoying little gnat that will eventually be squashed like the bug that they are.

post #8 of 31
Originally Posted by stargazerCT View Post
$10 bucks to a donut that Samsung was on the blower

 

This feels like Cockney slang. I like Cockney slang. :lol:

 

“Samsung’s on the blower, all right. How else do you think they won any court cases? HI-YO!”

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Well, Tesla can't be iOS only, that would be very stupid for obvious reasons. A partnership or some sort of licensing for that battery tech, even in future iCars would be beneficial for both companies. Apple could help a lot in expanding those charging stations worldwide.

I think we are reaching a point were people must accept that they have the same right of driving cars as they do with planes. It's not supposed to be a "fun" experience, people die because of it and roads are public. Every time someone drives a car, someone else can be killed. Only public transportations should be allowed in cities, for example.

Something big is coming.

If someone thinks that they have a right to drive their cars, they should be allowed. Inside their houses.

 

Wow - I'll take freedom, and the responsibility that comes along with it, thank you very much. 

 

That said, operating a motor vehicle is a privilege that should not be taken lightly - and if there are ways that those who do not choose to embrace driving as a hands on activity that requires skill and attention then I have nothing against self driving cars etc - but I don't see how that is incompatible with manually operated vehicles. Besides, there is no way you could replace enough vehicles in a short enough time span to even make it practical. As for urban centers - if you could make it such that you drive your car to the outskirts (or arrive there by other means) and then transition to public transit that would allow for more efficient and pleasant city centers you may be on to something. 

post #10 of 31

I wonder if Apple might be interested in this:

 

Quote:

Irish researchers’ breakthrough doubles battery life of phones, laptops and e-cars

07.02.2014 16:03

 

Irish researchers’ breakthrough doubles battery life of phones, laptops and e-cars

 

A new nanotechnology that doubles the life of smartphone, laptop and electric-vehicle batteries even after being charged and discharged more than 1,000 times has been developed by researchers at the University of Limerick.

http://www.siliconrepublic.com/innovation/item/35723-irish-researchers-breakthr

post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
 

I don't understand why Apple, a company that is clearly aware of current battery technologies, still uses relatively dated Ni-MH for their own rechargeable AA kit instead of the Lithium-Polymer used by "pro" rechargeable kits. Sure, the latter costs more, but it also requires much less frequent recharging.

 

Note I'm saying "I don't understand why," not "I think Apple is wrong." Maybe it's as simple as cost vs. perceived value, maybe there are technical reasons I don't know about. It just seems odd that the rechargeable batteries in my mouse at work are better than the ones supplied by Apple.

Maybe they are selling the batters simply for mice and keyboards, and the thinking is that the Ni-MH is good enough for those?

 

I only have to recharge my mouse about once a month, and my keyboard just a few times a quarter as-is.

 

Just a thought?  (i'd actually like to see built in rechargeable li-poly in the magic mouse and a port to plug-in to charge, but maybe that's crazy)

post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
$10 bucks to a donut that Samsung was on the blower

This feels like Cockney slang. I like Cockney slang. lol.gif

Nah...that's the 'dog an' bone'
post #13 of 31
Quote:
a device the company is believed to be preparing for a potential late 2014 debut

Ambiguous language much?
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

I don't understand why Apple, a company that is clearly aware of current battery technologies, still uses relatively dated Ni-MH for their own rechargeable AA kit instead of the Lithium-Polymer used by "pro" rechargeable kits. Sure, the latter costs more, but it also requires much less frequent recharging.

Note I'm saying "I don't understand why," not "I think Apple is wrong." Maybe it's as simple as cost vs. perceived value, maybe there are technical reasons I don't know about. It just seems odd that the rechargeable batteries in my mouse at work are better than the ones supplied by Apple.
Problems with this are common, first apple never updates the kit, 2nd nimh is used in most modern AAs, some still use nicd, 3rd 3 nickel battery's is same boost age as lithiom ion which makes that a big issue.
post #15 of 31
It's the M and A guy, so it's either a kick at the tesla tire or. Possible JV in battery, solar, robotic vehicle, infotainment venture...or simply mutual get together
post #16 of 31
Apple and Tesla do unique products.

Apple knows how to ROLL LIQUIDMETAL and has patents on rolling and injection molding of LiquidMetal amorphous alloys which are stronger than titanium and have better kinetic energy transfer than most metals. Think a carmaker like Tesla might be interested?

Lighter, Stronger, Faster and Longer Lasting = key aims that drive both Apple and Tesla in their product design and dev.

Computers and Transportation are merging for efficiencies derived from the ability to collect and process larger datasets to find ideal traffic flow for public and private transportation. Someday very soon your car will know to avoid routes with excessive headwinds and all kinds of navigation and traffic information to increase efficiency.

The manufacturing process of both companies is increasingly turning towards mass customization and in house fabrication, 3D Printing, Parts Stamping, Extruding, etc.. See Mac PRO and the sapphire glass plant in AZ.

I still remember Popular Mechanics said in the 70's we'd have flying cars by now... I hope to buy an Apple Tesla Flying Car and skip the whole on the ground thing.
post #17 of 31
Would be interesting to calculate who actually buys more battery cells? Apple with its millions of devices and small batteries or tesla with it's thousands of cars and big batteries.
post #18 of 31

Apple would NEVER buy Tesla especially at the current market cap which is completely unjustifiable by any aggressive cash flow analysis.  Tesla sold 30k units so far of Model S.  Even if they double every year (they won't but let's imagine) you still can't generate enough cash to justify a purchase at today's market cap let alone the 30% premium it would take on top of the cap to get it.

 

That said, even if Tesla was a super cheap valued stock it is outside apple's core competency and they would not do it.  Last, Cook does not want to compete with a rockstar ceo like Musk.  Now that Cook has the King's role he won't be so quick to yield it to somebody else.  I don't think Musk would take the job either unless he ran the show.

post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Well, Tesla can't be iOS only, that would be very stupid for obvious reasons. 

 

I dunno. iPhone is iOS only. Is that very stupid?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #20 of 31

Telsa's Batteries are nothing special. And have little connection and common with Apple's usage. Which are based on completely different characteristics.

 

The meeting happened last year. And as someone has pointed out, this may have more to do with Solar Panel, which Elon is the president of Solar City. Apple is currently using it in huge volume for its Datacentre.

post #21 of 31
Quantum Battery

Here is an interesting article--

Micronics Japan Co. Ltd. (ticker 6871 JASDAQ) in Tokyo announced that they have successfully developed, and established mass-production method of, a new quantum battery after years of extensive R&D in cooperation with Guala Technology in Kobe who is the original inventor, and start shipping out sample products within 2014.
The quantum battery will be on display in Battery Japan Exhibition held on Feb 26-28th 2014 at Tokyo Big Sight. (BTW both Aplle and Tesla are expected to visit)

For more than 200 years since Alessandro Volta invented the first battery, almost all batteries, including primary and rechargeable batteries, have been dependent on chemical reaction called redox (reduction-oxidation) to store electrical energy, AKA Chemical Battery.
Since the first invention by Volta, a lot of research and development has been carried out particularly in the area of rechargeable battery to improve performance, and it resulted in lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and most recently lithium-ion, but improvements of Chemical Batteries seems to be approaching to its limit, such as deterioration of electrode and electrolyte, low energy density, or requiring flammable materials etc.

Battenice is an absolutely groundbreaking invention since Volta. It stores electrons in the electron-trap matrix in band-gap of semiconductor.
Using flexible film type structure, it is able to store much more power (per volume/ per weight) than lithium-ion batteries, and is applicable to all areas where lithium-ion has been used, including mobile devices, and electric vehicles, making all existing batteries redundant.
While the energy density of the quantum battery is approximately only 3 times of that of advanced lithium battery, it seems to have potential to be further improved.
Since it does not use chemical reaction at all, deterioration of electrode that have been plaguing conventional rechargeable batteries does not occur, and it is claimed the test shows it provides stable performance at least 100,000 cycles of recharge-discharge.

There are five key points in their announcement in Japanese:
http://www.mjc.co.jp/files/page/pdf/528b008635acc_20131119150910.pdf

1) Safety
Due to its non-flammable material, it maintains high level of safety against surge current with short circuit and/or over heating.
2) Minimum deterioration
No deteriorations of performance have been detected even after 10,000 recharge-discharge cycle. It leads to maintenance free installation.
3) High output current
Its discharging characteristic outperforms conventional secondary battery. We plan to mass produce products which has minimum of two times more output current of that of existing secondary batteries, and will continue to further improve.
4) Environmentally friendly
It uses neither harmful materials nor rare metals, leading to sustainable production into future.
5) Sheet structure
Due to its sheet structure, it is easy to obtain higher voltage by series lamination and provides all shapes ideal to application.

Due to its principle, the time for recharge is said to be much shorter.

It is not difficult to imagine the potential colossal impact of this product, such as you may be able use smart phones full 7 days without recharging, and Tesla cars will run 3 times more distances without recharging exceeding that of conventional cars with tankful of gasoline.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Well, Tesla can't be iOS only, that would be very stupid for obvious reasons. 

I dunno. iPhone is iOS only. Is that very stupid?

Why the **** would Tesla put all their eggs in Cupertino when the world outside the US is 95% Android?

The current strategy makes the car iOS and Android friendly.

A company like Apple would just use that to stab Tesla the first chance they got. Google did the right thing.
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

Problems with this are common, first apple never updates the kit, 2nd nimh is used in most modern AAs, some still use nicd, 3rd 3 nickel battery's is same boost age as lithiom ion which makes that a big issue.

There are probably several issues at play here. One would be liability, lithium batteries are far more dangerous than other forms, as such putting them into an AA form factor could be seen as reckless. With the AA form factor Apple has no control over usage of the batteries.

Second there are real environmental issues. People are lax in their recycling of AA batteries, in fact it isn't even required in most places. Staying with old tech keeps Apple from having to teach people to recycle properly. Beyond that recycling lithium batteries isn't all that easy when it comes to actually handling the batteries. You just can't throw a 100 AA form in a box and hope it doesn't catch fire.
post #24 of 31
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post
Why the **** would Tesla put all their eggs in Cupertino when the world outside the US is 95% Android?

 

Because you’re lying through your teeth.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #25 of 31

Android smartphone share outside the US is more like 80%.  A hyperbolic exaggeration, not a lie.  Still a pretty convincing figure, though it doesn't take into account the true "smartness" of the smartphone.

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post #26 of 31
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

Android smartphone share outside the US is more like 80%.

 

Could you actually try telling the truth instead of a lie? Anything meaningful whatsoever, maybe? Something relevant to the discussion? His original point is utter nonsense. We can’t build a discussion off of nonsense.

 
A hyperbolic exaggeration, not a lie.

 

Extrapolating from experience, all Britons are liars. What? It’s just an exaggeration. 

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Could you actually try telling the truth instead of a lie? Anything meaningful whatsoever, maybe? Something relevant to the discussion? His original point is utter nonsense. We can’t build a discussion off of nonsense.

 

Extrapolating from experience, all Britons are liars. What? It’s just an exaggeration. 

Are you saying my 80% figure is a lie?  Because I'm happy to source it.

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post #28 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Why the **** would Tesla put all their eggs in Cupertino when the world outside the US is 95% Android?

Apple puts all their eggs in that basket and they seem to do just fine. In fact, they are doing better than your exalted "95%".

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #29 of 31
Why does the article assert that the Tesla is the "world's leading maker of all-electric cars?" This article says that the Nissan Leaf outsells it: http://www.hybridcars.com/volt-top-selling-plug-in-leaf-shatters-own-records-tesla-takes-third-place/
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Why does the article assert that the Tesla is the "world's leading maker of all-electric cars?" This article says that the Nissan Leaf outsells it: http://www.hybridcars.com/volt-top-selling-plug-in-leaf-shatters-own-records-tesla-takes-third-place/

 

Maybe if you take all Tesla models combined they outsell all General Motors models combined and all Nissan models combined. With GM and Nissan each having only one all-electric car and Tesla having more than one, maybe Tesla's aggregate total is tops. I dunno. Guessing.

 

Enough with cars lugging around the weight of six large oxen in batteries though. Where's the hydrogen cells?

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply
post #31 of 31

It would have been a dream if Apple had bought Tesla.

But it looks quite normal if Elon buys Apple or instead becomes the next president of Apple.

And maybe Cook just asked him to integrate as soon as possible the board and the senior VP pack as VP in charge of direction, innovation and future....just for a few years.

And maybe we understand better the 2 bulls reaction of Ive in 2 years.

 

Patrice

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