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Tech Products News: Apple's Trade-In Program, and a Simple Android Controller That Kickstarter Loved


Plus, a new keyboard that doesn't make a racket.

The New Apple Trade-In Program Launched Today

Since the first iPhone launched in 2007 and changed the direction of smartphones, users have been unable to trade in their old iPhones for a newer version at Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail stores. Today, the company is changing that, finally launching a trade-in program for older iPhone models.

Such buyback programs are currently offered by retailers like Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Radio Shack (NYSE:RSH). At those stores, and depending on the model, a traded-in iPhone can garner a customer between $150 and $350. The Apple Store trade-in program will pay customers with store credit towards a newer model. According CNBC, those customers must sign a new contract for cell phone service in order to take advantage of the trade-in program. The Apple Store is also offering a service to recycle non-functioning iPhones, but does not offer any financial compensation for it.

Apple is now competing with online companies like Gazelle, which allows smartphone users to mail in their old phones and get paid with a check, an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) gift card, or via PayPal. In many cases, users can make even more money selling their old phones on eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and on online market places like Craigslist.

Amidst the already successful competition, it remains to be seen if Apple can offer its customers a competitive option for trading in their old iPhones.

One Software Developer Decided to Design the Perfect Keyboard

The American software developer, author, blogger, and entrepreneur Jeff Atwood, most known for co-founding the programming question-and-answer website Stack Overflow, spends a good amount of his time in front of his computer. Frustrated with the current state of keyboards, he contacted Weyman Kwong of WASD Keyboards early last year and launched a project to develop his version of the perfect keyboard. Over a year later, the result of that collaboration has been released: the CODE keyboard. As Atwood describes it, the keyboard is the "only simple, clean, beautiful backlit mechanical keyboard [he has] ever found."

The keys of the CODE are made with Cherry MX Clear mechanical switches, which give actual physical feedback to a user's typing, but without any clicking noise. The keyboard is backlit by LED, has a detachable USB cable, and is fully modifiable for users who like to arrange the keys differently than the standard QWERTY setup. The customization options even allow for the switch from Window's "Control" key to Apple's "Command." And for all you font aficionados out there, Atwood and WASD went with Helvetica for the keys.

There are two models of the keyboard, one with 104 keys and one with 87. Both sell for $149.99. You can check them out here.

A One-Button Android Controller, Kickstarted in Less Than a Day
The Pressy in an Android phone, from the device's Kickstarter page.

Pressy is a 0.7mm-tall device that plugs straight into the headphone jack of any Android (NASDAQ:GOOG) phone (running Gingerbread of later) and allows the phone's user to customize special controls with the Pressy's one, discrete button. Confused? Well, with the Pressy app, users can assign any task on the phone (calling Mom, taking a picture, etc.) to a series of clicks with Pressy's one small button: two short clicks could call your mother, one long click could take a picture.

The project has been wildly successful on Kickstarter: Within its first day on the crowdfunding website, which was yesterday, the small, simple device raised $108,435 from 4,889 backers (as of this writing, it is up to $237,143 from 9,951 backers). Being funded within less than a day (it's initial target was $40,000), the Pressy joins the ranks of other mega-popular Kickstarter devices, like the Pebble smartwatch and the Bolex Camera, a pistol-gripped video camera that shows its footage as uncompressed RAW files, doing away with the need to transition from one format to another.

Here is a link to the Pressy Android controller's Kickstarter page, in case you want to get in on the action.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
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