Expected to be aimed at Apple’s advanced 3D sensing camera on the upcoming 10th anniversary edition ‘iPhone 8’, 3D sensing laser supplier Lumentum has received over $200 million worth of orders from Apple for the rest of the year, related to components for vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL), according to a new research note by LoupVentures analyst Gene Munster (via MacRumors).
The analyst notes that the bookings represent a noticeable increase in revenue for the supplier, in comparison to a reported $5 million in 3D sensing revenue during its last fiscal quarter. Furthermore, Apple’s massive order further confirms that AR will be a “focus feature” of the flagship ‘iPhone 8’, as previously predicted by Munster that this year’s flagship iPhone will see an increase in the number of devices with advanced 3D sensors supporting AR applications.
Munster also wrote that the iPhone launch “remains on track” for release in September, with a total 133 million units of new iPhone devices shipping in the second half of 2017.
Assuming Lumentum controls ~50% of the total consumer VSCEL laser market, the majority of all VCSEL lasers produced are going to Apple, and the total VCSEL laser cost (high and low-end) is ~$6 – 7, we believe 55M new iPhones (43%) will incorporate VCSEL lasers, enabling advanced 3D sensing capabilities. Given Lumentum’s comments about demand for VCSEL lasers growing in the coming quarters, as well as well into 2018, we believe this technology will be embedded in a higher-percentage of phones in CY18.
It is believed that 3D sensing technology in smartphones will evolve into two groups i.e. a front camera for facial recognition, and a rear camera for 3D scanning.