Apple invests $390 million in US-made iPhone lasers

Apple Awards $390 Million to FaceID Tech Company Finisar

Apple Inc is spending US$390 million to boost production from a maker of laser technology that's critical for new iPhone X features such as facial recognition. VCSELs power some of Apple's most popular new features, including Face ID, Animoji and Portrait mode selfies made possible with the iPhone X TrueDepth camera, as well as the proximity-sensing capabilities of AirPods. Apple replaced that with Face ID, its own version of facial recognition which has been prevalent in Android phones since the time Android 4.0 ICS.

Shares of Finisar, a Sunnyvale, California-based optical components maker, rose more than 30 percent to $25.41 on Wednesday morning. The latest recipient of the funds, receiving a whopping $390 million, is Finisar, a company that makes vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). Face ID also seems to be the authentication mechanism set to be standardized across all of Apple's devices in future that now features 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. Both investments from Apple bring over 1,000 jobs for Americans as they try to maintain as many US manufacturing for all their numerous products.

Finisar's manufacturing plant in Texas has been closed since 2012, but Apple's investment will change all that.

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When combined with the company's nearby plant in Allen, Texas, Finisar's payroll in Northern Texas is expected to be $65 million.

With much of the manufacturing and assembly for its products done in China, Apple has faced criticism from US President Donald Trump and others for not creating more jobs in the US Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook announced the manufacturing fund in May.

Hiring, capital equipment planning and infrastructure upgrades are already underway at the Sherman facility, which is expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2018. "Technology is only as good as the people behind it, and Finisar is a company with a long history of putting its employees first and supporting the community it's a part of".

Apple released tools for app makers to start creating AR apps over the summer and enabled it on all iPhones back to the iPhone 6s. That's an impressive investment in a critical supplier, following the $200 million that Apple awarded to Corning in May from the same fund. Should you upgrade your iPhone to iOS 11.1?

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