B&H has launched Apple deals in the days leading up to Black Friday with instant cash savings of up to $ 700 off popular MacBooks, iMacs, iPads and Beats headphones. Each model also qualifies for free shipping to the contiguous U.S. with no sales tax collected on orders shipped outside NY and NJ. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Congressional negotiators cut short on Wednesday the supposed plans for the creation of a sixth branch in the United States Armed Forces dedicated for space defense. The United States Space Corps (USSC) was part of a bill, H.R.2810, that the U.S. House of Representatives passed in July, to amend the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Now, the agreed compromise defense authorization plan proposes a $ 700 billion budget for the 2018 fiscal year, but without the creation of a space branch of the military.
Originally, proponents of the USSC saw it as a necessary improvement to modernize or future-proof the military, with space increasingly becoming an important aspect of defense. For one, a space corps could secure U.S. satellites from possible interference, or eventually keep us safe from incoming asteroids. As a more forward-looking measure, a “space corps” could make sure the U.S. stays ready for whatever challenges a broadening space exploration might bring.
Early on, however, the creation of the USSC has met with some reluctance and even outright opposition, particularly from the White House itself and from Pentagon chief Jim Mattis. The creation of a space corps, they argued, would just add an unnecessary level of bureaucracy. Instead of a space corps, the revise bill would simply introduce technical changes in the U.S. Air Force’s existing space programs, according to a report by DefenseNews.
Without a space corps in the pipeline, what does $ 700 billion afford the armed services?
The total budget is split accordingly: some $ 626 billion would go to base defense funding, with a $ 66 billion contingency for overseas operations. The plan also proposes a boost in active-duty and reserve military personnel strength, adding 8,500 new soldiers, 5,000 new sailors, 5,800 new airmen, and 1,000 new active-duty Marines — for a total of some 20,000 new service members. Troops would also get a 2.4 percent pay raise for 2018, which is 0.3 percent higher than what U.S. president Donald Trump proposed. If this is carried over, it would be the largest pay increase for military personnel since 2010, DefenseNews notes.
Apart from these, the bill includes the so-called “Amazon amendment,” which would allow for certain military procurements to be conducted online, potentially making the process simpler and more cost-effective. Speaking of purchases, the plan also suggests buying five more ships than what president Trump’s budget asked for, plus provisions for the Air Force fleet build-up he suggested, and for some new Army helicopters.
The defense plan compromise, which is expected to receive a final full congressional approval from both the House and the Senate in the next couple of weeks, proposes a sizable enough increase in defense spending, which lawmakers have argued to be necessary. However, the $ 700 billion proposed cost has to be reconciled with existing spending caps.
Mid-October deals on iPads and MacBook Pros have just launched starting with 128GB 9.7" iPads for as low as $ 399. Apple’s current 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is also on sale for $ 1,699 this week, while the high-end Late 2016 15" MacBook Pro with Radeon 455 graphics is $ 700 off with no tax outside NY and NJ. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Kicking off the last week in September, Apple authorized resellers are rolling out discounts on remaining Apple Watch 2 devices with savings of $ 80 to $ 120 off. Apple’s Mid 2017 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is also $ 150 off, while the Late 2016 high-end 15" MacBook Pro is $ 2,099 with no tax outside NY and NJ. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Shortly after launching at Sprint, the Essential Phone has made its way to Best Buy — both online and in stores. A quick check of stock around New York City shows that the unlocked, black Essential Phone is already available at many locations, though supply might vary depending on where you are. The Android smartphone costs $ 699.99 and is compatible with all major US carriers including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
Essential has been working to improve the device through software updates over the last several weeks; reports indicate that the phone’s software is running much smoother now. But the camera (and the camera app itself) remain weak points that still haven’t been fixed. Plus, the black model is a terrible fingerprint…