The award will enable Finisar to exponentially increase its R&D spending and high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). VCSELs power some of Apple’s most popular new features, including Face ID, Animoji and Portrait mode selfies made possible with the iPhone X TrueDepth camera, as well as the proximity-sensing capabilities of AirPods.
VCSEL technology is a better performing, more compact and cost-efficient solution compared to traditional edge-emitting lasers for many emerging applications. Apple has rapidly adopted depth-sensing technology in recent years, leading to the development and production of the most advanced VCSELs used in the history of consumer electronics. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple will purchase 10 times more VCSEL wafers than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period.
As a result of Apple's investment, Finisar will open a 700,000 sq ft manufacturing plant in Sherman, Texas. Over 500 high-skill jobs will be created including engineers, technicians, and maintenance teams. The company's payroll in Northern Texas is expected to reach $65 million. Hiring, capital equipment planning and infrastructure upgrades are already underway and the facility is set to start shipping in the second half of 2018.
Apple says all the VCSELs it buys from Finisar will be made in Texas. Finisar also intends to procure enough renewable energy to cover all of its Apple manufacturing the US.
“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,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “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. We’re extremely proud that our involvement will help transform another American community into a manufacturing powerhouse.”
“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. Finisar has always been keenly aware it takes great people to power our work and that’s why we’re thrilled to be adding Sherman to our family.”
“Sherman is the perfect place for Finisar’s significant investment in their operations and facilities and we couldn’t be more grateful for their confidence. We’re thrilled that Finisar and Apple will be a part of the Sherman business community,” said Sherman Mayor David Plyler. “The City of Sherman has invested significantly in improved infrastructure and amenities, and that’s translated into an unparalleled quality of life. The city has also adopted a pro-business culture, making Sherman the industry and commerce hub of North Texas.”