Finisar Corp, which makes technology which is used for facial recognition has been awarded approximately $390 million by the Advanced Manufacturing Fund of Apple. The award will fund Finisar’s research and development efforts as well as the production of VCSELs – vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers. VCSELs are used in some of the new features in iPhones and this includes Portrait mode selfies. Finisar is the second-biggest VCSEL supplier to Apple.
Last week Finisar indicated that it had begun shipping VCSELS which are crucial in the FaceID system of Apple and which offer 3D sensing capabilities needed to detect a face. Finisar is also in plans to build a VCSEL production plant in the State of Texas consisting of space measuring 700,000 square feet.
Seven months ago Apple also awarded Corning Inc $200 million with a view to assisting it expand with regards to the processing of high-tech glass. Corning thus became the first recipient of the $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund which is meant to promote innovation in firms based in the United States.
According to analysts Apple’s Finisar deal will assist the Cupertino, California-based tech giant lock out rivals such as Huawei Technologies and Samsung Electronics since the products Finisar makes are not only new but in limited supply.
“This is one more example of Apple continuing to verticalize their supply chain by taking control of components that are hard to get or they think are critically important and that they can differentiate on,” Bob O‘Donnell, an analyst at Technalysis Research,said.
Most powerful Mac
Apple’s award to Finisar coincides with an announcement by the iPhone maker that it will be launching a new version of the iMac Pro computer on December 14. Dubbed the ‘most powerful Mac’ that has ever been made, the desktop computer will come with new features that include 128 GB memory, a Retina 5K display measuring 27 inches, 18-core Intel Xeon processor and 1TB of storage. Prices will begin at $4,999.
To enhance the airflow the new iMac pro now features a new centrifugal fan system while the graphic processing unit has been supplied by Advanced Micro Devices. Apple has said that the new graphic chip will be more than three times faster compared to previous ones that came with the iMac line of desktop computers. The new iMac Pro was first announced six months ago during the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference though the launch date was not revealed at the time.