Apple backs Finisar with US$390m for Face ID technology

Finisar in Texas

Apple invests $390 million in US-made iPhone lasers

Finisar manufactures some of the parts used to make the iPhone X True Depth camera.

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.

That's a move straight out of Tim Cook's playbook - see prior examples like cornering the market for flash memory, which helped the iPod and iPhone dominate over the past 15 years, and also helped Apple hit its insane profit margins.

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. 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 is Apple's second from its $1 billion advanced manufacturing fund that seeks to foster innovation and create jobs.

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Finisar will use the money to refurbish a manufacturing plant in Texas where it will build chips created to power special iPhone features including Face ID, animojis and portrait photography.

President Trump has been pushing Apple to move its manufacturing efforts from China to the U.S. On the campaign trial, Trump said: "We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries". Apple has said that the new investment will create 500 high skilled jobs at the com;any.

It's not unusual for Apple to finance its suppliers.

Finisar (FNSR) stock slipped on Thursday after the optical device maker in a regulatory filing clarified that Apple (AAPL) has not made an investment in the company and that $390 million in funding for a new manufacturing plant represents "anticipated future business".

You can find out more information about Apple and their Advanced Manufacturing fund at the link below.

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Finisar's new facility should be fully operational by the second half of 2018.

The first investment was a $200 million infusion into Gorilla Glass maker Corning Inc in May. "We're extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse".

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.

500 people will be hired to help build the TrueDepth cameras for the current iPhone X model.

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