Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is investing approximately $390 million into Finisar Corp., a communications parts manufacturer. The capital comes from the Cupertino, California-based tech giant’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund, a fund put together by Apple in support of American manufacturers innovating and creating more jobs.
Finisar, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, manufactures optical subsystems and other components for data communication and telecommunication applications. The deal announced Wednesday will help increase the target’s research and development efforts and production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). VCSELs are used to power some of Apple’s latest features, including Face ID, Animoji, Portrait mode selfies and the proximity sensing capabilities in AirPods.
Apple’s capital investment will also allow Finisar to transform a 700,000 square foot manufacturing facility based in Sherman, Texas into a high-tech VCSEL production plant, creating more than 500 job opportunities. The new production facility, to be combined with Finisar’s existing plant nearby in Allen, Texas, will begin shipping in the latter half of 2018.
“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,” states Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams.
Hiring, capital equipment planning and infrastructure upgrades have already begun at the Sherman facility. One hundred percent of the VCSELs Apple buys from Finisar will be made in Texas. The backing of Finisar comes only two days after Apple announced its acquisition of Shazam, a music identification service and mobile application. In May, Apple said Corning Incorporated had been awarded the Advanced Manufacturing Fund’s first award, with $200 million invested to support the target’s research and development, glass processing and capital equipment needs.