Apple is on a roll this month. After acquiring music-recognition app Shazam in deal valued at $400 million, the tech giant plans to invest $390 million in Finisar, a Sunnyvale based company which develops modules used in the iPhone X’s True depth camera.
According to reports, Apple plans to use the investment to build a new manufacturing facility in Texas to produce more chips. The investment will come from Apple’s $1billion advanced manufacturing fund created earlier this year to foster innovation and create jobs.
Finisar, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, will receive $390 million funding from Apple to increase the R&D and manufacturing of vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs), which are essentially depth and proximity sensors used in high-end Apple products for features such as Face ID, Animojis and portrait-mode photos.
“We’re excited to continue our innovation with Apple of a technology that has tremendous potential,” said Jerry S. Rawls, CEO of Finisar. “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 incredibly exciting features”.
The California-based optical components maker will reopen a 700,000-square-foor manufacturing facility that was shut down in 2012. Apple expects that the plant will start churning out VCSELs by late 2018, and will create more than 500 jobs and a payroll of around 65 million.
“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,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer in a press release.
The move is likely Apple’s attempt to reduce problems with component shipments, which were one of the main causes behind the delayed launch of the iPhone X.
In other related news, Apple recently acquired music-recognition app Shazam and its AR technology in a deal reportedly valued at $400 million. The deal marks Apple’s second largest acquisition after it bought Beats in 2014.