Radio Transparent Materials in iPhone?

Hrmpf reports on Apple's latest patent application which depicts the previous iPod mini casing but with particular attention paid to the materials used in the enclosure.

According to the patent application, Apple suggests the use of Zirconia as a radio-transparent material for part the enclosure:

A portable computing device capable of wireless communications, the portable computing device comprising: an enclosure that surrounds and protects the internal operational components of the portable computing device, the enclosure including a structural wall formed from a ceramic material that permits wireless communications through.

Consideration for radio-transparent material is to allow cellular/mobile phone functionality from the device itself. This is simply further evidence that Apple has been actively considering wireless integration with current iPod devices.

Current iPhone rumors suggest a target date of the first half of 2007 for the possibility of such a device.