What happened

Last month, Himax Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIMX) stock price jumped 19%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, likely on news that the company is collaborating with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) on new 3D depth-sensing camera technology and investors' optimism that the company's tech will be inside Apple's newest iPhones, which will debut next week.

So what

Investors have already pushed Himax's share price up 78% this year, partly on rumors that the company's 3D sensing components will be in the next iPhones. Apple's next device is rumored to have advanced facial recognition technology and also use 3D sensors for augmented reality and 3D object scanning, both of which could be controlled by Himax's tech.

Lines on a stock chart.

Image source: Getty Images.

At the very end of August, Apple announced its next product event (where the debut of its next iPhones will almost certainly happen) would be on Sept. 12 and that announcement likely helped boost Himax investors' sentiment. Investors might be banking on this news so much because 3D sensor component sales -- for the iPhone and other devices -- could contribute up to 20% of Himax's revenue in 2018, according to Morgan Stanley's Charlie Chan. 

Along those same lines, the newly announced partnership with Qualcomm builds on the optimism about Himax's 3D sensor opportunities. Qualcomm said in a press release that the collaboration will "accelerate the development and commercialization of a high resolution, low power active 3D depth sensing camera system to enable computer vision capabilities for use cases such as biometric face authentication, 3D reconstruction, and scene perception for mobile, IoT, surveillance, automotive and AR/VR." 

HIMX Chart

That's a mouthful, but essentially it gives Himax investors even more of a reason to be optimistic that the company will be able to partner with tech companies and get design wins for its 3D sensors that can be sold into everything from components for the Internet of Things to augmented and virtual reality devices.

Now what

September has been bringing more share price gains for Himax as well, with the company's stock price gaining about 10% so far. The good news for Himax investors is that it appears that the company's 3D sensor technology prospects are just getting started. MarketsandMarkets estimates the 3D sensor market will be worth nearly $5.5 billion by 2022.

3D technology could be a great way for high-end smartphone makers to woo new buyers and differentiate their devices from the low-end market, which could be a boon to Himax's component business. We'll have to see what the next few months bring, but investors are likely right to be so optimistic.

Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.