Apple invests $390 million in VCSEL maker Finisar

VCSELs are an optical technology used in the iPhone X for Face ID, Animoji, and the TrueDepth camera's Portrait mode.

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Apple said Wednesday that it has invested $390 million in Face ID supplier Finisar. The cash injection comes from Apple's $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund that was launched earlier this year as a way to support "a new era of technology-driven manufacturing in the US."

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The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said Finisar will use the funds to increase R&D spending and production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs, which are used in the iPhone X for Face ID, Animoji, and the TrueDepth camera's Portrait mode. Finisar will also expand production of proximity sensors that are used in Apple AirPods.

Read also: How iPhone X melds the best of Apple's past and present | iPhone X vs iPhone 8: Price, size, camera all factor in your buying decision | Face ID is so good you won't miss the Home button | Should you upgrade your iPhone to iOS 11.1? | iPhone X reviews: It's a journey not an impulse buy | Apple: We screwed up your iPhone X order, please come back

Beyond R&D, Finisar will build a new 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, where it also plans to hire roughly 500 people to staff its engineering, technical and maintenance teams.

Apple has rapidly adopted depth-sensing technology for its products in recent years. This quarter, Apple says it will purchase 10 times more VCSEL wafers than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period.

"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," said Apple COO Jeff Williams.

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