Apple has reported that it will grant $410 million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to II-VI, a Pennsylvania-based optical technology firm. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Twitter that the company’s technology is being used in FaceID, Memoji, and Portrait Mode. The company also produces lasers used in the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro as being key to augmented reality experiences.
Finisar received $390 million from Apple’s fund in 2017, which was later purchased by II-VI (pronounced “two-six”). Although this latest investment indicates that Apple plans to hold FaceID (which is operated by II-VI’s vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers) around for a while, it may also be a sign of Apple’s future plans in AR and VR.
The company makes devices that help computers see the world in 3D, and Tim Cook has publicly stated that he thinks AR is “critically important” to Apple’s future. The funds could be used to build a more advanced version of the technology already found on Apple devices, such as a mixed reality headset.
According to II-VI’s CEO, the partnership with Apple “sets the stage for a new wave of breakthrough technologies that we believe will enable a wide range of applications that will benefit our world for decades to come,” as stated in Apple’s press release.
The funds will be used by II-VI to increase manufacturing capabilities, build employment, and “accelerate delivery of potential components for iPhone,” according to the press release.