Apple Invests $390 Million In US Laser Manufacturer

Apple Invests $390 Million In US Laser Manufacturer

Apple Invests $390 Million In US Laser Manufacturer

Apple uses VCSELs in its new iPhone X to scan your face for its Face ID feature, "portrait mode" photos and Animoji, and in its AirPod earbuds to sense your ears.

Apple has announced on Wednesday, Dec. 13, that it chose to invest a hefty $390 million in Finisar, a US company that makes iPhone laser chips.

So it needs more VCSELs.

"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 Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, in a statement today.

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

Finisar will use the funds to build a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Texas to develop vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) chips. While Apple has made tentative comments toward shifting more aspects of iPhone production onshore in the last few years, cost remains the critical factor in the decision.

It's worth noting that this is not an equity investment - Apple calls it an "award" in its press release.


Shares of Finisar, a Sunnyvale, California-based optical components maker, rose more than 30 percent to $25.41 on Wednesday morning.

Back in May Apple launched an Advanced Manufacturing Fund that had $1 billion dollars for the company to invest in USA manufacturing. (Apple PR also produced this "feature" report about how the partnership will be "transforming the future of this Texas town.") Apple has also doled out $200 million from the fund to Corning, which supplies glass for iPhones.

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

"If we can create many manufacturing jobs, those manufacturing jobs create more jobs around them because you have a service industry that builds up around them", Cook said of the fund on CNBC earlier this year.

Apple is pouring $390 million into an American company that helps power AirPods and FaceID - an investment that will create 500 jobs in Texas.

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. Should you upgrade your iPhone to iOS 11.1?

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