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Samsung is making Apple pay a small fortune for the iPhone 8 display

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Apple is about to unveil a brand new iPhone on September 12. For the first time, the company is likely going to switch from LCD displays to OLED displays, a newer technology that is causing some challenges. In particular, according to a new report from KGI Securities and obtained by Apple Insider, Samsung is going to be the sole supplier. Samsung is taking advantage of that by charging a ton of money for those displays.

KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that Apple is currently paying $45 to $55 for LCD displays in current iPhone models. But Samsung is asking for $120 and $130 per unit. This could be the reason why the next high-end iPhone is going to be so expensive.

There are a few reasons why Apple has no choice but to pay a small fortune. First, Apple needs OLED displays more than ever before. Rumor has it that the next iPhone is going to feature a taller screen that is going to nearly fill the front of the device. Think about it as an iPhone 7-shaped device, but with a screen that expands toward the top and bottom edge of the device.

It’s like having an iPhone 7 Plus display in an iPhone 7 body. But the issue is that Apple will have to deal with a small-ish battery for quite a big display. Among other things, OLED displays are more energy-efficient. That’s why Apple can compensate the bigger display with OLED technology.

While many Android manufacturers have used OLED displays for years, Apple faces some interesting scaling issues. The company is currently selling over 200 million iPhones every year.

Shipping hundreds of millions of devices creates some incredible supply chain issues. Apple can’t adopt the latest and newest components if it can’t get hundreds of millions components every year. A single component shortage could create a bottleneck for the entire production. Designing the iPhone is already quite impressive, but being able to ship so many iPhones is even more impressive.

Right now, the only OLED supplier that can help Apple is Samsung. LG also manufactures OLED displays, but Bloomberg just reported that Apple will have to wait until 2019 to get LG displays. LG’s current OLED displays are also nowhere near as good as Samsung’s displays — just look at this Ars Technica comparison.

That’s how you end up with a classic case of asynchronous competition. Samsung and Apple are competing like crazy to sell more smartphones around the world. But Samsung is also an important supplier. Apple has to pay Samsung for those sweet, sweet OLED displays.

Featured Image: MKBHD

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$40 keychain-size detector quickly alerts you of allergens in food

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If you’re someone with a horrible allergy that’s not often accommodated at restaurants or food producers, taking a bite means taking your life into your hands — or mouth, I suppose. A new device developed at Harvard Medical School may soon let you test food for common allergens instead of using yourself as your own guinea pig.

It’s called the integrated exogenous antigen testing system, or iEAT — I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. The researchers describe it in a paper published in the journal ACS Nano.

First you put a bit of food on the “antigen extraction device,” a single-use slide that does the necessary chemical deconstruction. You plug that into the iEAT device itself, which is small and light enough to fit on a keychain, and contains the electronics necessary to analyze the prepared food sample.

A diagram from the paper shows the device in an enclosure and with a prototype multi-electrode attachment (not for sale).

Within 10 minutes, it should tell you whether any given allergens are present, and if so, how much. That isn’t exactly lightning quick, but the alternatives are slower, bulkier or more dangerous (i.e. just eating it). And the iEAT actually detects even smaller amounts than lab tests. It’s not the only tester out there: There’s also the Nima, but that only does gluten and it’s a lot more expensive, and Ally, which did lactose in its prototype phase.

Right now the device is set up to detect peanuts, hazelnuts, wheat, milk and eggs, but it could easily be configured to find other things: shellfish, pesticides and so on. The researchers tested it on a few restaurant items themselves and found gluten in a “gluten-free” salad, and egg protein in beer (gross).

The whole thing supposedly costs $40, though of course the antigen extraction devices are where they get you — hopefully you’ll be able to buy in bulk. Whatever the case, it’s better than having your throat close up or developing some horrible rash.

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You can get your own mini Mars rover for Earth through this new project

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Mars is a long way away, and super expensive to get to, so if you have the very specific dream of owning your own Mars rover, it’s probably not going to happen. But if you want an EARTH rover, there’s a new Kickstarter project that could deliver one once it reaches its funding goal. The Turtle Rover is a new robot built by a small team that has worked on a number of Mars rover prototype projects for the European, German and Swedish space agencies.

The five-person team is seeking €60,000 (roughly $71,500 U.S.) to get their rover ON the ground (that’s a great joke), and will look to ship the vehicle beginning in April of next year, with DIY kits and fully built machines available to backers starting at around the $1,000 mark.

Turtle is a four-wheel ground drone that can drive for up to four hours on a single charge of its included battery, with control facilitated via an app that’s compatible with most computers, tablets and smartphones. The Turtle can create its own Wi-Fi network for connections when you’re off the grid, which is great, because this thing is designed for exploring off the beaten path.

It’s based on a Raspberry Pi 3 computer, running Raspbian, and it comes equipped with a full HD camera for video capture and live streaming. The design is watertight, which means, according to the project’s creators, that it can be fully submerged in water with no ill effects. There’s also a robot arm provided with the roader, which can lift up to 1.1 pounds. And it’s fully customizable, so you can incorporate your own add-ons, like the Microsoft Kinect or a LiDAR sensor for depth and environment sensing.

It can carry up to 11 pounds on its back, in fact, so you could easily load up a DSLR and lens, or a box to load down with your cache of interesting geological samples if you’re doing some remote spelunking. All of the hardware and software is also fully open source, and the project’s creators encourage its use as a development or educational platform.

The Turtle Rover is designed to reach hard-to-access places more easily than you could, and to do so without intruding as much as a lumbering human. You can see in the video how it might be able to explore where you can’t. The team says it also has a very low center of gravity, and a suspension inspired by actual NASA Mars rovers, which should help it navigate even tricky terrain with aplomb — and without rolling over.

Turtle Rover was created by its five-person team, which includes Simon Dzwonczyk, Julia Marek, Martin Twardak, Aleksander Dziopa and Justyna Pelc, with no external funding, and is relying 100 percent on backers at this point. Despite that, the five left their corporate jobs and managed to build a fully functional prototype in six months, and they say that now venture capitalists are calling since they’ve demonstrated their ability to make Turtle a real thing.

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For a bootstrapped hardware startup project it looks very promising, and like something that would appeal to any amateur space or drone hobbyists looking to dig deeper into their interest, or help educate others with a true maker project. The Kickstarter campaign ends on September 24, and is about halfway to its goal as of this writing.

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