Last week Apple filed a new patent for consumer electronics casing designs comprised of radio-transparent ceramic materials like zirconia. These would allow wireless signals to pass through the enclosure and potentially enhance transmissions.
"This is especially important for wireless hand held devices that include antennas internal to the enclosure," Apple said. "Radio transparency allows the wireless signals to pass through the enclosure and in some cases enhances these transmissions." Cermaics would also allow for a "a smaller and cheaper antenna may be used" which could be "integrated with other components and placed at almost any location within the enclosure," making devices smaller and reducing manufacturing costs.
Other reasons for using ceramics cited in the filing are that they are highly scratch resistant, have color embedded in it (no paint or coatings), can be made into a wide variety of colors, and provide a variety of surface finishes including smooth and rough. Additionally, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said the density of ceramics is typically higher than other materials, which would make for heavier electronics devices that feel more robust and exude greater quality.