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Apple appears to be getting ready to add more sophisticated augmented reality features to the next iPhone, based on the comments of a component supplier on Thursday. On its earnings call, Finisar said it expects one company to account for millions of units of a specialized laser. While it didn't mention Apple by name, Loup Ventures said Friday it believes Apple is that unnamed customer.

Why it matters: Apple already added its ARKit to the next version of the iPhone operating system; Adding AR capabilities to the iPhone could help distinguish it in the increasingly competitive smartphone market. Loup also said that based on Finisar's comments it expects the next iPhone to be announced in September and ship in October.

Loup Ventures says it expects Finisar to be one of several suppliers of the specialized laser, known as a VCSEL. In May, another supplier, Lumentum, said it anticipated to start volume shipments of the same type of laser in the second half of the year.

Apple is putting the hammer down in AR. The company already has more than 100m AR-enabled iPhones (iPhone 7) in use today, and all versions of the next iPhone will be AR-enabled. Incorporating these high-end VCSEL lasers into the iPhone will enrich the augmented reality experience. Coupled with the release of the ARKit at WWDC in early June, Apple is positioning itself to become a leader in this next generation tech movement. Separately, Apple is cornering the market for the VCSEL sensors.

Go deeper

42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

GOP pivot: Big business to small dollars

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.

CDC: Half of US adults have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Half of US adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about a third are fully vaccinated, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still on the rise, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Friday's White House COVID-19 briefing. With cases in many states being driven by variants, public health officials have emphasized the need to ramp up vaccinations.

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