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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

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
3 hours ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

3 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

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