Suspected Apple VCSEL supplier reports shipment delay, unlikely to impact 'iPhone 8' avail...

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2017
Finisar, a manufacturer of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL) thought to be supplying hardware to Apple, on Thursday said it was forced to push shipments out to October due to a problem with current production units, though the delay is not predicted to impact "iPhone 8."




Detailed by Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster, Finisar's component delay is expected to be short lived and should not materially impact significant customer launches, one of which is thought to be Apple's "iPhone 8."

In a conference call covering its most recent fiscal quarter, Finisar said it experienced a delay in customer approval for VCSEL production units. While the exact issue and customer in question were left unmentioned, the firm anticipates the problem will be resolved by the end of October.

If Finisar's estimates are accurate, Munster believes the component delay will not affect Apple's "iPhone 8" launch. However, with already constrained supply from another VCSEL supplier, Lumentum, future availability of the as-yet-unannounced smartphone might be impacted if Finisar is unable to meet its October promise.

Loup Ventures and other industry analysts believe Lumentum is responsible for a bulk of Apple's VCSEL orders. Munster puts the number at 75 to 80 percent, extrapolating from the firm's announcement of a $200 million order last quarter, a massive figure that could only be attributed to a major player like Apple.

VCSEL arrays are a key component in a facial recognition solution Apple is widely rumored to debut in its next-generation handset. Combined with advanced computer algorithms, the system calculates distance to a target using light pulses and time of flight (TOF) measurements, allowing for extremely accurate depth mapping capabilities.

As it applies to iPhone, Apple is expected to leverage depth-sensing tech for user identification and authentication, as well as certain secure features like Apple Pay.

On a macro level, Apple's ability to secure a majority of laser component orders from Lumentum and Finisar basically guarantee iPhone a competitive edge in 3D sensing technology, at least for the foreseeable future.

News of the potential VCSEL component delay comes on the heels of more intractable problems related to OLED supply. A number of recent reports claim Apple will likely stagger the launch of its upcoming iPhone models, with the flagship OLED version -- with 3D sensing cameras, full-face display and other exotic hardware -- predicted to ship after a revamped iPhone 7 series hits stores later this month. Current speculation pegs October as a likely window for the high-end model to begin shipping.

Munster expects Apple to ship 133 million iPhones during the second half of 2017, 43 percent of which will be "iPhone 8" units with 3D sensing hardware. That figure will increase to 239 million iPhones and 67 percent, respectively, in 2018, the analyst says.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 3
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,296member
    Short sellers doing their every best.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,512moderator
    VCSEL arrays are a key component in a facial recognition solution Apple is widely rumored to debut in its next-generation handset. Combined with advanced computer algorithms, the system calculates distance to a target using light pulses and time of flight (TOF) measurements, allowing for extremely accurate depth mapping capabilities.

    As it applies to iPhone, Apple is expected to leverage depth-sensing tech for user identification and authentication, as well as certain secure features like Apple Pay.
    There's an example of what can be done with 3D sensing with Sony's new XPeria phone. They are using just the camera and some photogrammetry techniques to do 3D object capture (1:25):



    https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/31/16232720/sony-xperia-xz1-3d-creator-ifa-2017



    At 5:38 in the following video, they show a good quality scan:



    By using just the standard camera, it takes a while to capture as it has to capture frames and then do image analysis on each frame to determine the surface. A laser scanner can assess the shape much more quickly. Here's a projection scanner scanning an object in 3D:



    It takes a while to build up and align each separate scan there but the scans themselves happen very quickly and in that example it captures ~500,000 surface points per scan. Putting this in mobile hardware with motion sensors and GPU processing, the alignment and processing of the data can happen very quickly.

    This kind of thing is used in movies to create digital doubles of actors:



    For the Paul Walker model in Fast & Furious 7, they scanned his brothers and adjusted the models:



    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/how-furious-7-brought-late-845763

    With everyone having access to this kind of scanning, it's going to allow for a lot of advanced creative work. If someone is making an indie game or movie, they can do visual effects and scan models to make the process much faster. It has some pretty wild use cases, especially with wearables/glasses. For example, you could scan a family member and even if they died, they could still live with you virtually, you would be able to see them walking around the house. You could have famous people living with you.

    It also means AR will have depth masking ability, faster and more accurate tracking and it should allow portrait mode on the front camera as well as face morphing for photobooth-like effects.

    The speed of the scan is important for identification. There was a report saying Apple had the scan speed within a few hundred milliseconds:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-03/apple-said-to-test-3-d-face-scanning-to-unlock-next-iphone

    It says it captures more data points than touch id. For shape, there may be a way for a 3D printed mask using a face scan to fool it:

    Image result for ethan hunt face mask

    but I expect that there will be photographic data too, which would be harder to match with a mask. It'll be interesting to see how they handle the lock-screen. I assume you won't have an option to activate the phone without unlocking to see notifications and the time, it would unlock immediately just by looking at the phone. Maybe they'll have another post-unlock screen for this.
    edited September 2017 stantheman
  • Reply 3 of 3
    @Marvin - "There's an example of what can be done with 3D sensing with Sony's new XPeria phone...." Awesome comment Marvin! One of the best ever. The use of the technology in movies (Fast & Furious 7) makes it crystal clear what Apple is doing with computational photography.
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