$390M Supplier Investment Signals Apple's Definitive Switch to Face ID

Apple invests $390M in Finisar

On Wednesday, Apple announced that it had given a chip and laser manufacturer, Finisar, $390 million out of its "Advanced Manufacturing Fund".

Finisar is not the first company to benefit from the fund - that honour went to Corning, which makes the durable Gorilla Glass displays that feature on many phones. All of the VCSELs purchased by Apple from Finisar will be made in Texas.

This special kind of component features in numerous Apple's products and enables features such as Face ID, ARKit, and even Animoji but also proximity sensing that, for instance, allows AirPods to stop playing audio when one of the two buds is removed from the user's ear.

Finisar workers have to wear specialized gear in the VCSEL manufacturing area to avoid contaminating the wafers.

Any lingering concerns that investors may have had appeared to evaporate quickly following the Apple announcement, with Finisar's stock price immediately soaring in value by close to 23 per cent on the Nasdaq exchange. That's the company Apple already uses for some of its depth-sensing tech in AirPods and iPhone X.

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"We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse". Apple is working on a new iPad with the feature for next year, Bloomberg News has reported. It is expected to adopt numerous design elements from the recently introduced iPhone X. The 2018 iPad is likely to be a "Pro" model, and will reportedly not have the infamous Home button.

According to a rumor which surfaced last month, Apple might make huge iterations to the HomePod.

Finisar will use the $390 investment in part to repurpose a 700,000 square-foot manufactured plant in Sherman, Texas, that was shut down a long time ago.

As for Apple, the company says it now supports 2 million jobs across all 50 states, including 450,000 jobs that are the result of its spend and investment with US-based suppliers. "Consistent with Apple's commitment to the environment, the company intends to procure enough renewable energy to cover all of its Apple manufacturing in the U.S.". The Texas facility is expected to go into operation in the second half of 2018.

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