Apple Invests $390 Million in U.S. TrueDepth VCSEL Manufacturer

As part of its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, Apple has pledged to invest $390 million into technology manufacturing company Finisar.

The $1 billion fund, which Apple unveiled in May, is aimed at accelerating the growth of advanced manufacturing in the US and showing that the firm is creating US jobs.

Finisar is the second major investment from the fund. Earlier this year, the tech giant made ploughed £200 million into Gorilla Glass maker Corning.

As CNBC reports, Apple will help Finisar transform its Texas-based 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. The company is working on plans to begin developing VCSEL (vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser) chips.

These chips are integral in depth and proximity sensing. And with the launch of Face ID, Animoji and ARKit this year, Apple clearly has significant interest in the area.

Apple’s iPhone X uses three VCSELs, and they’re also included in the Airpods. As a result of this investment, Apple will have a stake in the development of the chips.

Set to open in the second half of 2018, the multi-million-dollar facility will generate over 500 jobs for the local economy. The company will invest in engineers, technicians and maintenance specialists.

Launched in 1988, Finisar has built much of its business on transceivers and transponders. The latter are used in wireless, storage, networking and cable solutions.

Headquartered in California, the company currently employs 14,000 people and works with tech giants such as Cisco, Huawei, IBM, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in addition to Apple.

Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple, said the investment will transform its manufacturing capabilities for devices such as the iPhone X.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Jerry Rawls, chief executive officer of Finisar, praised the investment and said working with Apple will enable it to develop new technologies and solutions.

“When you combine our proven ability to consistently manufacture exceptional products with our new state-of-the-art Sherman facility, we’re confident we can achieve our shared goal of providing consumers with incredibility exciting features.” he said.

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