Apple is awarding the optical technology company II-IV $410 million. The money is being used from the iPhone maker’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The company II-IV is known for creating technologies for Apple that power features and technologies such as FaceID, Portrait Mode, and Memoji.
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to announce the news of funding the Pennsylvania based company II-IV. He also noted that the optical technology company helps make possible a lot of features present on the iPhone and the iPad. The company also makes the laser technology used on the “Pro” iPhone models and the “Pro” iPad models which enables the LiDAR scanner.
Apple is investing heavily in improving augmented reality (AR) features on the iPhone and the iPad. Tim Cook has talked about AR several times publicly and has also said that AR is “critically important” for the future of the company. The company is expected to unveil its AR glasses sometime in the near future.
Future is mixed reality, Tim Cook hypes AR
II-VI manufactures vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) that help power Face ID, Memoji, Animoji, and Portrait mode selfies. Apple also works with II-VI to manufacture lasers used in the LiDAR Scanner — technology that helps deliver faster, more realistic augmented reality experiences and improves autofocus in low-light scenes in photos and videos.
The latest investment could be a sign that Apple wishes to continue using FaceID on the iPhone and the iPad. It was previously rumoured that some Mac computers may also have facial recognition technology in the future. However, the fund allocation to II-IV could also mean that Apple is getting serious about augmented reality (AR) hardware.
Notable Apple analysts such as Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities have said that Apple is set to release its first mixed reality glasses in 2022. Kuo also added that the first true AR glasses could be released in 2023.