Things like 3-D and depth-sensing should figure more prominently into Apple's product line over the next couple of years - not only as it adds Face ID to more iOS devices beyond the iPhone X, but also for future products like the augmented reality glasses it's reportedly working on.
VCSELs are already used in Apple products for Face ID and animoji selfie modes in the iPhone X as well as proximity sensing for AirPods. The analyst said that Finisar's recent financial disclosures indicate that Apple is going to use its VCSEL tech in more iPhones next year, suggesting that all of next year's iPhones will get all-screen designs complete with Face ID cameras.
"VCSELs power some of the most sophisticated technology we've ever developed, and we're thrilled to partner with Finisar over the next several years to push the boundaries of VCSEL technology and the applications they enable", Apple COO Jeff Williams said. Still, Finisar stock is up 30 percent today, and this is a big deal for the company, which is nearly 30 years old and survived the dotcom bubble and crash experience.
The investment towards Finisar is part of Apple's $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which supports "innovation and job creation by American manufacturers", the company said in its announcement. However, due to the reduced size of bezels, Apple had to remove the home button which also housed the iconic Touch ID.
"This is one more example of Apple continuing to verticalize their supply chain by taking control of components that are hard to get or they think are critically important and that they can differentiate on", said Bob O'Donnell of Technalysis Research.
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The Finisar investment will revive a manufacturing plant in Texas, and should help to create over 500 jobs, according to Apple. The first recipient was Corning Incorporated, to which Apple awarded $200 million for glass processing in May. The iPhone X is now the only Apple product with a facial recognition sensor.
The iPhone X had a lot of changes that iPhone loyalists had been asking for.
Apple's fund is created to assist the growth of US-based manufacturing, as it seeks to bring a little more production back to the States.
Finisar's new facility should be fully operational by the second half of 2018. Should you upgrade your iPhone to iOS 11.1?