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Apple files for patent on zirconia iPhone

A new patent filing seeks protection for a podcast navigation tool

Ah, cubic zirconia. How would underpaid journalists get married without it?

In August, Apple filed for a patent that would protect the use of zirconia as a casing material for a number of wireless handhelds, including a certain still-unannounced-but-geez-where-is-it product: the iPhone.

Apparently, zirconia is a good material for any small device that needs to transmit radio frequency signals--like cell phones--in that it is strong enough to protect the internal components but wireless signals can still easily pass through, according to Apple's patent filing, disclosed Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and spotted by numerous Apple watchers.

Zirconia is also used to make fake diamonds and costume jewelry, the likes of which can be seen on any television shopping channel in seemingly endless rotation. Apple doesn't mention it in its filing, but couldn't this also allow for a bling-studded iPod for less than 200 bucks?