Apple is planning to further the userbase for Apple Watch, which is the most popular and feature-rich smartwatch to date. The company currently makes two Apple Watch variants, one with titanium and another with a ceramic body. However, reports now suggest that the company could be working on an affordable Apple Watch with a plastic case, coupled with ceramic fibers for added durability.

Apple was recently granted (via AppleInsider) a patent for the ceramic fiber watch case. Titled “Ceramic Weave for Low-Cost, Structural, Antenna-Permeable Watch Case,” the patent proposes using a weave made of ceramic fibers to strengthen the Apple Watch’s plastic case and protect it against damage in the future.

The patent application goes on to explain why ceramic fibers are a favorable choice. It states that certain materials such as metal can provide structural strength and varying levels of electromagnetic shielding. A body made of plastic, on the other hand, can be electromagnetically transparent but has low level of strength. A ceramic construction will surely be more durable than plastic but it’s also expensive to mold and process.

“In some cases, the ceramic material can include ceramic fibers that can be arranged in a pattern, such as a weave pattern. A matrix material, such as a resin or epoxy, can partially, substantially, or entirely surround the ceramic fibers such that the ceramic fiber weave can be embedded in the matrix material,” says the patent application.

For the uninitiated, ceramic fiber is a lightweight insulating material used in electrical, thermal, and sound equipment. It has low thermal mass, low thermal conductivity, and highly effective for insulation purposes. Apple has further detailed other specifics of the process, device assembly, and more in the patent application. This means we can expect to see the Cupertino giant take the wraps off an affordable Apple Watch soon but don’t hold your breath as patents don’t always convert to official products.

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