Apple doubles down on Face ID, grants $390 million to TrueDepth sensor maker Finisar


Apple's fresh Face ID tech on the iPhone X relies on four components, including a structured light transmitter and receiver, a front-facing camera, and a time of flight/proximity sensor. The sensors that Apple uses for Face ID are all clustered in the "notch" at the top bezel. The structured light sensors collect depth information which is combined with images taken with the front-facing camera to produce a 3D map using software algorithms.

The iPhone X hit initial production snags precisely on account of the fact that one of the component suppliers couldn't churn out sensors fast enough to satisfy the quality control. Now that production has normalized, Apple is apparently doubling down on the 3D-mapping Face ID technology, as it just invested the cool $390 million in Finisar, a US maker of said depth-mapping sensors that the TrueDepth camera kit on the iPhone X uses for Face ID, Animoji, and other shenanigans, while AirPods uses it for proximity and other sensing.

This is the second big outlay that Apple's $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund makes since the spring, when it was established. As to why now and why such a big amount for vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) production and R&D? Well, Apple answers this pressing question in the press release, apparently Face ID and the accompanying features are here to stay and expand to other products in its portoflio: "In the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple will purchase 10 times more VCSEL wafers than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period." There you have it.

source: Apple

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8" 1125 x 2436 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2716 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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6 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 4119; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Hopefully this improves security

2. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

It’s always a good thing to improve security.

3. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 596; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

I'll still go with the FP sensor.. more convenient and reliable.

4. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I hope for this companies sake they diversify and not just sell to Apple but other vendors or if not have another side technology because Apple will want a return on its investment and if they decide to bring things in house then another "imagination" another "sapphire glass" etc... business 101 cover your assets ( and have multiple revenue streams) because Apple plays for keeps as it should - its a business.

5. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I'm hoping they solve the issue as to why Face ID unlocks for people faces, who didn't even use their face to set it up. It seems pointless to spend this money on something, that appears to be very flawed. I have at this point seen over 30 videos where people who only had similar facial features, those who were twins and other who were just other family members unlock the phone. Apple claim 1:1,000,000 and that has already been proven false. FPS is better because, no one will have your fingerprint, without cosmetic surgery. Iris Scanner is even better, because not only will no one have your set of eyes, both of your own eyes are not identical, which makes the scan even more secure. Apple should have given option for both, like everyone else does. Very disappointing for $1000.

6. MrShazam

Posts: 987; Member since: Jun 22, 2017

Hopefully this at least brings it up to par with 2015 tech...

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