What’s the best iPhone X features? Is it the huge OLED screen on the front? The Face ID camera? Or maybe the rear camera that’s even more potent than the iPhone 8 Plus? If you ask me, it’s the entire design.
There’s no Face ID without an all-screen design. And there’s no all-screen iPhone without Face ID. Apple had to find a way to remove the home button from the front side of the phone without losing all the security features tied to the home button. Face ID provides even better security than Touch ID and has no rival in the industry for the moment.
A report earlier this week said that Apple will launch three iPhones next year, including two OLED models and an LCD version. All three are expected to have the same design as the iPhone X, complete with a Face ID notch, including the LCD model. The news came from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who’s usually well-informed when it comes to Apple products.
Gene Muster said in a Loup Ventures note that a key iPhone X suppliers has received Apple qualification and plans to expand capacity substantially.
That company is Finisar, Apple’s second largest VCSEL array supplier. VCSEL stands for vertical cavity surface emitting laser, and it powers 3D sensing cameras like the iPhone X’s TrueDepth front-facing camera. And that’s what makes Face ID possible.
The company earlier this week announced it acquired a 700,000 square foot facility in Sherman, Texas, which will allow them to significantly scale production. The new plant should start production in the second half of the year, right in time for next year’s iPhone launch.
Munster says he believes Finisar has received final qualification from Apple, and it’ll start shipping VCSEL arrays in January. Finisar’s expansion is a clear sign for Munster that Apple needs more VCSEL supply, which can only be explained by Apple’s decision to equip even more iPhones with Face ID cameras next year.
Furthermore, Finisar’s addition to Apple’s VCSEL supply chain should further improve iPhone X production.
The main VCSEL provider is Lumentum. And both companies indicate that Apple is the main driving force for VCSEL arrays demand.