Apple to invest $390 million in the supplier of VCSEL lasers for iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera

The United States-based supplier Finisar Corp will receive a cool $390 million investment from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund which was set up back in the summer to help create manufacturing jobs in the country.

Apple says the investment in Finisar Corp, which supplies VCSEL laser components for the TrueDepth camera in iPhone X, will create 500 high-skill jobs at its Sherman, Texas facility.

Finisar will use the award to exponentially increase its research and development spending and high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) that power the TrueDepth camera in iPhone X and features like Face ID, Animoji and Portrait Lighting.

According to Apple, 100% of the VCSEL components it buys from Finisar will be made in Texas.

Finisar’s long-shuttered 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas will be transformed into the “high-tech VCSEL capital of the US.” When combined with the company’s nearby plant in Allen, Texas, Finisar’s payroll in Northern Texas is expected to be $65 million.

Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

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.

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. We’re extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse.

Apple will purchase ten times more VCSEL wafers from Finisar in the fourth quarter of this year than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period.

Finisar also makes lasers used for proximity-sensing capabilities in AirPods.

According to Apple:

VCSEL technology is a better performing, more compact and cost-efficient solution compared to traditional edge-emitting lasers for many emerging applications.

Apple has rapidly adopted depth-sensing technology in recent years, leading to the development and production of the most advanced VCSELs used in the history of consumer electronics.

Hiring, capital equipment planning and infrastructure upgrades are now underway at the Sherman facility ahead of first shipments expected in the second half of 2018.

Apple also published this morning a separate article highlighting how its investment in Finisar will help transform the future of this Texas town.

Back in May, cover glass maker Corning received the first award from the Apple fund, $200 million to support their capital equipment needs and state-of-the-art glass processing.