Apple patent for a new type of nitride coating is an indication that the next iPhone may come with a scratch-resistant body. The nitride coatings will be cost effictive and would also leave your iDevice and Mac looking great:
In addition to providing a durable, hard surface that is both scratch and impact resistant, the nitride layer allows for the natural surface color and texture of the underlying stainless steel to remain visible to the user. It is this natural surface color and texture of the stainless steel that adds to the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the consumer electronic product, thereby enhancing the user’s overall experience.
Imagine the iPhone 5 with a stainless and scratch-less body.