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A redesign of Apple products may come later this year

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a report he claims details Apple’s product roadmap for the rest of the year.

Kuo says to expect refreshes across Apple’s product line, from desktops to tablets and even wearables. (Via iPhone HacksBGRiDownloadBlog)

Apple is expected to have an especially busy third quarter, with upgrades to its iPad Air and iPad Mini, two different sizes of iWatch and a newly redesigned 4.7-inch iPhone model. KGI is also expecting an upgraded Apple TV, completely redesigned slim MacBook Pro and an upgrade to the Retina MacBook Pro. (Via MacRumors)

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Apple could also make an expensive splash on its first entry into wearables; Kuo suggests the highest-end iWatch could come with a spit take-inducing price tag of around a thousand dollars.

Yes, despite Kuo’s track record of reliability, this one’s got industry watchers scratching their heads. Mark Gurman imagines shooting that high could really backfire on Apple; Rene Ritchie figures for that price you might as well get more functionality out of a full-on arm laptop.

But Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac argues there’s one way it could work: aim just that high-end model at the high-end market. “Put top-spec models into exclusive casings and create a sub-brand for the range, and I could see a small but highly profitable niche market.”

For comparison: Samsung’s Gear II will go for $300 when it goes on sale later this month; Motorola’s Android Wear-equipped Moto 360 is expected to retail for less than $500 this summer.

In any case, Apple’s iWatch is still a rumor that it probably won’t address until later this year. The company’s next confirmed event is the Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

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  • A bill that would require insurance carriers to consider the use of FORTIFIED construction techniques when determining premiums is moving forward in the Oklahoma legislature. The standards are set by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. House Bill 1720 does not mandate lower premiums - but Insurance Commissioner John Doak is confident the increased use of the stronger building techniques will drive down the cost of insurance for homeowners. Basically, FORTIFIED construction involves strongly connecting the roof to the walls and the walls to the foundation, greatly increasing the structure’s resistance to high winds. The bottom line, proponents say, is that Oklahomans will suffer storm damage every year, no matter what. But, “there’s going to be less damage for those consumers that embrace this program,” Doak told KRMG Tuesday. He hopes someday to possibly mandate lower premiums, but starting with a voluntary program is the best way to encourage wider use of FORTIFIED construction, he said. It’s not only for new homes, he added. “You can retrofit an older home,” Doak said, and the process doesn’t take very long. Habitat for Humanity has committed to building dozens of homes in Oklahoma using the new techniques. While such a home won’t withstand an EF-5 tornado, the great majority of damage in Oklahoma comes from straight-line winds and smaller tornadoes in the EF-1 to EF-2 range. HB 1720 passed unanimously in the Oklahoma House, by a vote of 93-0, and now goes to the Senate. Here is a video demonstrating the advantages of FORTIFIED construction:
  • At the request of four Democrats in the Congress, the Government Accountability Office has agreed to formally review how much money the feds spend, and what security precautions are taken, when President Donald Trump takes a weekend away at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida. The request for a GAO review came from three Democratic Senators and one House member – the GAO says it will “review security and site-related travel expenses related to the President’s stays outside the White House at Mar-a-Lago. The lawmakers who made the request were Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). On 2/16, @RepCummings @SenWarren @SenWhitehouse & I wrote @USGAO & asked they review Mar-a-Lago security procedures & taxpayer funded travel — Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) March 28, 2017 This is not new territory for the GAO, which from time to time is asked by one party or the other to review the costs of travel. When the White House was under the control of Democrats, Republicans a few years ago were the ones asking about costs – as they had the GAO look at a February 15-18, 2013 trip made by President Barack Obama. In that review, the GAO estimated that an official speech in Illinois, followed by a golf weekend in Florida, cost about $3.6 million. This GAO report will look at more than just the cost of the weekend trips to Trump’s resort in Mar-a-Lago, as it will also review security matters there. (CBSMiami/AP) — A government watchdog will investigate the taxpayer-funded travel costs of President Donald Trump’s trips to Mar-a-lago. — Liz Quirantes (@lizquirantes) March 28, 2017 Democrats raised those concerns during a trip that Mr. Trump took with the Japanese Prime Minister, when the two men were seen with aides in a public dining area, speaking about a developing national security issue with regards to North Korea. One question from the four Democrats centers on whether those who are at the Trump club have gone through normal security and clearance procedures, including any foreign nationals who might be there. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has downplayed the costs of the Mar-a-Lago visits, saying that’s ‘part of being President.’ “That is a vast reach,” Spicer told one reporter, who cast the question of the cost of the Mar-a-Lago visits, versus proposed cuts in the federal budget. Before he became President, Mr. Trump often criticized his predecessor for taking weekend golf trips to Florida and other parts of the country. While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2016 The GAO will now be in charge of determining how much Mr. Trump’s own weekend getaways are costing taxpayers.
  • J is not OK, as a name according to a Swiss court. The Zurich administrative court said in a ruling released Tuesday it had upheld a local registry's office decision to reject the letter as a given name in the best interests of the child, Switzerland's 20 Minuten news website reported. The court rejected the parents' argument they wanted to honor their daughter's great-grandparents Johanna and Josef with the initial as one of her middle names, saying they could have chosen the already-accepted Jo instead.  Though the parents wanted to pronounce the name 'Jay,' the court noted the letter is pronounced 'Yott' in German, creating confusion. The court also said people would be inclined to put a period after the J, though it wasn't an abbreviation.
  • A new study by the Mayo Clinic found that certain workouts can reverse the aging process. The study found that a high-intensity interval training workout, combined with resistance training, can turn back time. >> Read more trending news 'You're essentially slowing down that aging process, (which) I think is amazing, because we didn't have those things before,' said Dr. Vandana Bhide, of the Mayo Clinic. The study was conducted by researchers in Rochester, Minnesota, and targeted two age groups -- 18 to 30-year-olds and 65 to 85-year-olds. As we age, we lose muscle mass. Researchers found that a combined workout increases muscle mass, and on the cellular level, reverses some of the adverse effects of aging. 'For older people, it allows them to be more functional, to be able to do as much as they can at whatever age,” Bhide said. Researchers tracked data over 12 weeks. 'It's not overnight, but we think of it taking years,' Bhide said. Florida-based fitness franchise Orange Theory Fitness focuses on these types of workouts. 'It kind of just reaffirms what we already believe here,' head coach Justin Hoffman said. 'We've seen tremendous strength gain, even (at) 70 years plus, with just 3 to 4 days of interval training.” Bhide said older people who are interested in these workouts should check with their doctor before starting. And as with any exercise program, everybody is different and may not get the same results.
  • The American Geosciences Institute will host a free webinar, “State Responses to Induced Earthquakes,” on Friday 14 April at 1:00 PM CT. The surge in recent years of earthquakes associated with some oil and gas operations, especially the deep underground injection of wastewater, has spurred a range of actions and responses from geoscientists, regulators, and operators. This webinar will explore state-level activities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio to monitor and reduce induced earthquakes. SEG is a co-sponsor of the webinar. The webinar will feature Jeremy Boak (Director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey), Michael Young (Associate Director for Environment at the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology), and Steven Dade (Geologist 2 at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources), focusing on several key topics: Improved monitoring networks for detecting small earthquakes Regulations and their effects Collaborations between government, industry, and other groups to reduce induced earthquakes Outreach and education to improve public awareness Attendees will have the chance to ask questions of the speakers in a live question and answer session during the webinar. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/induced-eq-webinar. This webinar is co-sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Energy Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the Association of American State Geologists, the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, the Environmental and Engineering Geophysical Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and the U.S. Geological Survey.