The iPhone X is the first iOS device to feature a sophisticated 3D facial recognition system that’s unlike anything available on Android. Apple will equip this signature iPhone X feature on other iOS devices going forward, many reports said in recent months.
A new story from Korea says that Apple just inked a deal for Face ID components with LG Innotek. Apple is looking for a stable supply of 3D sensing modules, for iPhones and iPads that will be launched this year.
Face ID supply issues are what delayed the iPhone X launch. Apple suppliers fixed the problems, and iPhone X production ramped up significantly in recent months, as shipping estimates kept dropping for the sold-out iPhone X.
Apple already signaled that it wants to secure a consistent Face ID parts supply. The company inked a $390 million deal with US-based Finisar just a few weeks ago, an investment that bought supplies not a stake in the company.
According to The Investor, Apple did the same thing in Korea when negotiating with LG’s Innotek group. The parts supplier will invest almost $821 million to build additional facilities for its mobile camera module and next-gen module business.
LG did not say how it’ll finance the investment, but Apple has apparently offered financial support in the form of an upfront payment. It’s unknown how much Apple paid to secure LG Innotek’s supply going forward.
What’s remarkable about the negotiations is that Apple CEO Tim Cook was personally involved. He met LG Innotek CEO Park Jong-seok in November, the report says, a rare move from Cook, who doesn’t directly participate in talks with parts suppliers.
Apple is rumored to make three iPhone X successors this year, all of them packing the same design as the iPhone X and most of its novel features. Face ID camera modules should be present on all of them. 2018 iPads are also expected to get the same Face ID treatment. And Apple’s recent moves seem to suggest that it’ll need plenty of supplies going forward.