Apple Invests $390 Million in Facial Recognition Tech

Pablo Tucker
December 13, 2017

Finisar will use the funds to transform a shuttered, 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Texas to a facility developing vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) chips.

Apple announced the creation of the fund in May and plowed $200 million into Corning Inc., the maker of the Gorilla Glass, which is used in Apple's touchscreens.

Apple COO Jeff Williams said in a statement that "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". The new plant will create 500 "high-skill" jobs.

An Apple-supplied image shows a Finisar factory.   Apple
An Apple-supplied image shows a Finisar factory. Apple

These chips are integral in depth and proximity sensing.

As part of the award, Finisar will transform its 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant "into the high-tech VCSEL capital of the US", said Apple.

As for Apple, the company says it now supports 2 million jobs across all 50 states, including 450,000 jobs that are the result of its spend and investment with US-based suppliers. After falling to $19.30 in NY yesterday, Finisar rose more than 30 percent in pre-market trading following the deal's announcement. Shares catapulted 28.7%, near 24.80, in morning trading on the stock market today.

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Piper Jaffray analyst Troy Jensen raised his price target on Finisar to 28 from 22 and reiterated his overweight rating.

Jerry Rawls, chief executive officer of Finisar, praised the investment and said working with Apple will enable it to develop new technologies and solutions.

President Trump has called on Apple to move more of its production to the U.S. He called on the tech giant to start building its "damn computers" in the States in 2016, and said earlier this year Apple has plans for three "big" plants in the U.S. Apple's American-focused fund might be one way for CEO Tim Cook to alleviate Trump's calls to action.

For the iPhone, VCSEL helps with face scanning.

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