Apple Invests $390 Million in Laser Tech

by Lawrence Cooper December 14, 2017, 0:36
Apple Invests $390 Million in Laser Tech

Apple is dipping into its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund and awarding $390 million to Finisar, a leading manufacturer of optical communications components, the company announced today.

Back in May Apple launched an Advanced Manufacturing Fund that had $1 billion dollars for the company to invest in US manufacturing.

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. It will also lead to more VCSELs for Apple in the latter half of 2018, helping to protect Apple against potential shortages from its leading VCSEL supplier, Lumentum.

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. With that massive cash infusion, Finisar will be able to exponentially increase its research and development spending, along with its high volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) that power some of the features on Apple's iPhone X enabled by its TrueDepth camera.

Apple plans to buy 10 times more VCSELs in Q4 than in previous quarters. Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the company at the time, pointing to its creation of millions of jobs in the US.

Finisar is using the money to build a new 700,000 square foot factory in Sherman, Texas, to handle Apple's VCSEL needs. "We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse". "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 United States".

Finisar is reopening a facility in Texas which will help create 500 new jobs.

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