Gadgets of the future might run for weeks without needing to be charged, and Apple might help usher in that future with upcoming iPhones, iPads and laptops.

British company Intelligent Energy announced recently it had acquired a set of patents in partnership with an "international electronics company," and "senior sources in the US" told the Daily Mail that the company is in fact Apple.

The two companies are working together and hope to put fuel cells that can keep electronics charged for days or even weeks at a time in laptops and mobile devices "within in a few years," the report says.

According to the Mail, Intelligent Energy's fuel cells are both green and highly efficient, a welcome combo for users looking for long-lasting and environmentally friendly gadgets.

Friendly neighbors

There's more evidence for this partnership than just the hearsay of some anonymous sources, though.

Apparently Intelligent Energy's Chief Operating Officer Joe O'Sullivan used to be an Apple exec, and the energy company recently opened an office in San Jose, Calif., a short drive from Apple's Cupertino headquarters.

Intelligent Energy already supplies tech to companies including Suzuki and Boeing, but the pipe dream of fuel cell-powered consumer electronics has yet to be realized.

Apple was talking about putting fuel cells in MacBooks as early as 2011, though, so it's about time that idea came to fruition.