Apple Invests $390 Million in Facial Recognition Tech

Finisar’s lasers are key to new iPhone features

Fresh off dropping $400 million on acquiring song-recognition app Shazam, Apple continued its spending spree on Wednesday, investing $390 million into Finisar, a key company behind the iPhone X’s new facial recognition software.

Finisar will use the cash infusion to further its research and development, and boost its production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VSELs). Lasers already play a major role in several iPhone features, including Face ID, portrait mode, and Animojis.

With the investment, Finisar will open a 700,000 square foot in Sherman, Texas, and hire 500 workers to start churning out more VCSELs.

“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,” said Finisar CEO Jerry S. Rawls.

The bet on Finisar stems from Apple’s $1 billion US Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which looks to throw some of the company’s cash behind American companies. Apple gave $200 million to Corning, maker of the iPhone’s screen, earlier this year.

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.

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