Apple is reportedly planning on investing in Korean electronics company LG Innotek in order to secure a more stable supply of 3D-sensing modules for future iPhone and iPad models.
According to a new report from Korean website The Investor, Apple’s upfront investment could be worth as much as $820.9 million USD. LG Innotek would use the investment to build facilities in which the company could produce 3D-sensing and camera modules for iOS devices.
The report notes that “The sensing module, which enables a mobile device to capture 3D data and recognize a user even in a dark environment, is a key component of iPhone X’s facial recognition solution,” allowing for features such as Face ID and Animoji to be a reality.
“Korean news outlet Korea Economic Daily speculated that the latest decision came after a meeting between Apple CEO Tim Cook and LG Innotek CEO Park Jong-seok in November last year,” reads the report. This sort of meeting is rare for Mr. Cook, as he generally does not directly participate in negotiations with parts suppliers.
Apple’s investment into the company makes sense as, according to famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI securities, the Cupertino company is largely expected to release a refreshed iPhone X, a larger iPhone X Plus, and a mid-range iPhone, all featuring Face ID technology, at some point later this year.
If Apple does indeed invest into LG Innotek, the company could avoid the temporary supply chain issues it experienced late last year with its 3D-sensing modules, allowing for larger availability of the upcoming aforementioned iOS devices.
LG Innotek declined to comment on the matter, stating that it prefers to stay silent in regards to speculative news.