Apple to give Finisar $390 million to increase TrueDepth camera tech production

Finisar Corporation executives discuss plans for the former MEMC facility in Sherman

It has announced a U.S. $390 million investment in Finisar, a facial recognition technology company. Besides Finisar, Apple announced in May its $200 million investment in Corning Incorporated to support their R&D, capital equipment needs and glass processing.

Apple says the cash will help Finisar, a chip maker, restart a 700,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Sherman, Texas, by the second half of next year. Apple replaced that with Face ID, its own version of facial recognition which has been prevalent in Android phones since the time Android 4.0 ICS.

And because the parts Finisar supplies are new and in extremely limited supply, the deal also helps Apple lock out Samsung Electronics, Huawei Technologies and other competitors in the premium smartphone space that are working to develop similar features, analysts said. Apple has not said what company supplied the first round of lasers, but Lumentum Holdings Inc has seen a surge of business attributed to a single customer that analysts believe is Apple. Apple said it will purchase 10 times more of the technology this quarter than has ever previously been manufactured over a three-month period.

President Trump has been pushing Apple to move its manufacturing efforts from China to the U.S. On the campaign trial, Trump said: "We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries".

Foxconn's announcement in July that it would open a plant in the United States was met with mixed responses in the ongoing conversation about American job creation.

Sherman mayor David Plyler said: "Sherman is the flawless place for Finisar's significant investment in their operations and facilities and we couldn't be more grateful for their confidence".

A Finisar worker wears specialized gear in the manufacturing area of the company's Allen Texas facility
A Finisar worker wears specialized gear in the manufacturing area of the company's Allen Texas facility

Apple released tools for app makers to start creating AR apps over the summer and enabled it on all iPhones back to the iPhone 6s.

"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.

A Finisar technician examines a wafer during production. The iPhone X is now the only Apple product with a facial recognition sensor.

The A11 chip then compares your facial structure to the facial scan stored in the iPhone X during the setup process.

Face ID captures both a 3-D and 2-D image of your face using infrared light while you're looking straight at the camera.

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