Apple to give Finisar $390 million to increase TrueDepth camera tech production

Apple to give Finisar $390 million to increase TrueDepth camera tech production

Apple said this week it will give $390m to United States technology company Finisar, which produces the face-scanning lasers in the iPhone X's Face ID system.

The iPhone X uses these advanced lasers to power the TrueDepth camera for Aminimoji, Face ID and bokeh-rich Portrait mode selfies. It's rumored that some of next years iPhone's will have Face ID included.

The investment will enable Apple to "get better supply and better pricing, and it makes it more hard for Android phones to compete", said Gene Munster, a longtime Apple watcher at Loup Ventures.

Apple, whose products can stretch the manufacturing capabilities of suppliers, will invest the money in Finisar Corp from a US$1 billion manufacturing fund announced earlier this year with the aim of creating more American jobs.

Apple said today that it would give $390 million to Finisar, one of its suppliers, to build a plant in Texas for a part called "vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers", or VCSELs. They also appear in the AirPod earphones to sense when you are listening to music and when you have removed them from your ear.

Shares of Finisar rival Lumentum Holdings Inc fell 12 percent to $45.80, which Henderson said validates how important 3D sensing technology is to Apple and other vendors.

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Once refurbished, Finisar's plant in Sherman, Texas will offer jobs for more than 500 high-skilled workers, including technicians, engineers, and maintenance teams.

The Sherman plant is anticipated to begin shipping VCSELs to Apple in the second half of 2018.

When combined with the company's nearby plant in Allen, Texas, Finisar's payroll in Northern Texas is expected to be $65 million. The announcement of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which specifically invests in USA manufacturing companies, followed shortly after. The latest investment in Finisar will enable the company to boost production, as well as research and development, to create more optical communications parts. The iPhone X is now the only Apple product with a facial recognition sensor.

While the delivery wait times for the iPhone X have come down in recent weeks, Apple simply couldn't keep up with initial demand at launch. (Apple PR also produced this "feature" report about how the partnership will be "transforming the future of this Texas town.") Apple has also doled out $200 million from the fund to Corning, which supplies glass for iPhones.

It will only unlock your device when you look in the direction of the iPhone X with your eyes open.

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