The company that dashed our sapphire-covered iPhone dreams is being charged with fraud

This is not what mass-produced synthetic sapphire looks like.

In 2014, it looked like Apple was poised to do for sapphire what it had done for aluminum — turn an exceptionally useful but difficult-to-machine raw material into a selling point for its flagship consumer gadgets. Apple announced a new factory in Arizona where its supplier, GT Advanced Technologies, would be loaned $578 million to produce huge synthetic sapphire crystals — known as boules — to be chopped up into incredibly scratch-resistant covers for the screens of the iPhone 6.

That iPhone never arrived. GT Advanced quickly imploded under the strain of trying to mass-produce sapphire glass, filing for bankruptcy mere months after beginning work at the Arizona plant. And today, we’re learning that the US Securities and Exchange…

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