‘Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers’ Confirmed for iPhone 8

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iPhone 8 component production has been a relatively hot-button topic the past few weeks, as report after report has suggested that Apple is going all out this year to secure components for what’s expected to be one of its best-selling iPhones on record.

Just recently, a supply chain report cited that Apple was hogging up the majority of Far East component supply chains; while others have suggested that particular components, such as NAND flash storage, are particularly facing shortages as Apple has essentially dominated those supply chains. Likewise, in a recent research note by BlueFin Research Partners, it was suggested that iPhone 8 component production will include “two or three” entities who will exclusively create modules and components that will facilitate AR-capable, 3D sensing technologies on Apple’s high-end iPhone 8. Specifically, the report, which was obtained and published by Barron’s, goes on to cite Finisar and Lumentum as two companies who will create 3D sensing modules for the iPhone 8 — and Broadcom, who will be the sole supplier of wireless charging components.

According to LoupVentures, component supplier Finisar, in its recent quarterly earnings report, made suggestions that it will be among “one of two or three suppliers” who will provide Apple with ‘vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers’ (VCSEL) destined for the iPhone 8. When implemented in Apple’s upcoming flagship, Finisar’s technology would be incorporated into the iPhone 8’s oft-rumored, advanced 3D camera hardware, and would inherently “enrich the augmented reality experience” on the device. Finisar’s comments come amid a similar report last week from Apple’s Taiwan-based supplier, Largan Precision, whose CEO outed the firm’s role in supplying Apple with 3D facial recognition sensors for the iPhone 8.

Similarly, without identifying Apple by name, component supplier Lumentum recently announced that it expects “volume shipments” of its own VCSEL modules to begin in the second-half of 2017, which would be historically in line with annual iPhone component production schedules.

“On last nights earnings call, Finisar management did not mention Apple by name, but they highlighted they expect to see volume VCSEL orders in their second fiscal quarter, which is the October quarter end of this calendar year,” BlueFin analysts said in the report, while adding that “The company anticipates shipping ‘millions’ of units during the quarter, but management also went on to say they anticipate unit shipments to be in the ‘10s of millions’ in future quarters, which gives us further confidence 3D sensing and AR applications will be one of the focus features in the next generation of iPhones.”

LoupVentures went on to suggest that Apple’s top-tier iPhone 8, which could cost upwards of $1,000 or more, will actually feature two VCSEL lasers: one, lower-end VCSEL laser in the device’s front-facing selfie/FaceTime camera, and another, higher-end VCSEL laser in the dual-lens camera module around back. Their presence on both the front and back of the device entails that AR applications will be able to take advantage of both camera systems to promote a more immersive AR experience.

Meanwhile, BlueFin’s research note goes on to suggest that Broadcom will have a bigger place in Apple’s supply chain this year, as the chip-maker will reportedly be providing Cupertino with wireless charging components for the iPhone 8 — a feature that should also be coming to the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, according to another recent report from Apple supplier, Wistron.

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