Apple awards advanced laser manufacturer funding


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Apple today announced that it has awarded $390 million to Texas-based Finisar. The award is to boost the companies capacity to create vertical-cavity-surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) tech that's used in Apple's products for features such as the iPhone X TrueDepth camera and AirPods proximity sensing.

As a result of Apple's commitment, Finisar will transform a long-shuttered, 700,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas, into the high-tech VCSEL capital of the US. Apple's award will create more than 500 high-skill jobs at the Sherman facility, including engineers, technicians and maintenance teams. When combined with the company's nearby plant in Allen, Texas, Finisar's payroll in Northern Texas is expected to be $65 million. Hiring, capital equipment planning and infrastructure upgrades are already underway at the Sherman facility, which is expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2018.

The funding comes from Apple's $1 billion domestic manufacturing fund. The intent is to bolster the capacity of key suppliers. In the past, Apple funds companies to develop technology and increase capacity to manufacture components. In turn, Apple establishes a supply for critical parts, which can be a competitive advantage for consumer electronics which tend to be commoditized.