With Apple just months away from announcing at least five new devices — including three new iPhone and two new iPad Pro models — boasting TrueDepth camera systems, edge-to-edge displays and Face ID technology, now is looking to be a bright time to invest in one of the iPhone-maker’s TrueDepth component suppliers.
As outlined in a new DigiTimes report published this morning, certain firms in Apple’s Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) supply chain are already reporting higher than expected revenues, and even higher outlooks for the remainder of 2018 and beyond.
“As Apple is expected to mass incorporate 3D sensors into its new portable devices to power Face ID, Taiwan suppliers of III-V compound semiconductors and 3D sensing components and testing equipment are optimistic about bright shipment prospects for the second half of 2018 thanks to the robust demand from the US tech giant,” DigiTimes said, citing at least two supply chain sources.
Several of Apple’s VCSEL suppliers have reported higher than anticipated sales and revenue growth ahead of the company’s September/October 2018 iPhone and iPad Pro announcements. Apple is expected to release three new iPhone models and two new iPad Pros built around the same iPhone X-style form-factor with TrueDepth/Face ID camera systems across the board.
As noted in our earlier write-up, Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSEL) are an integral part of Apple’s TrueDepth camera system. As an independent laser system built-into the TrueDepth module, VCSEL is responsible for “spraying dots” onto a user’s face, while a companion sensor reads the dots and creates a 3D depth map to use with Face ID, Animoji, and other applications.
Cited in the report is wafer foundry, Win Semiconductors, which is just one of the firms who’ve so far landed “robust orders” for VCSEL components destined for Apple’s 2018 devices. DigiTimes sources even noted that current orders are “sufficient enough to support shipments to Apple throughout 2018.”
Win Semiconductors has already posted a consolidated revenue of NT$4.567 billion (US$149.47 million) for the second quarter of 2018, marking a surge of 2.31% over the first quarter and 19.71% year over year.
DigiTimes further noted, citing industry sources, that in addition to foundry houses, epitaxial (epi) wafer makers, and LED epi wafer suppliers, LED equipment distribution agents such as Chroma ATE are likewise optimistic about growth in the 3D sensing components market.
What About Finisar?
Interestingly, today’s report makes no mention of Apple’s biggest VCSEL supplier, Finisar (FNSR). Back in December of last year, the Cupertino tech-giant announced it would be investing $390 million in Finisar — as pursuant with its pledge to bolster U.S. manufacturing — in a bid to help the VCSEL maker purchase and refurbish a massive production plant in Sherman, Texas.