When is an iPhone accessory not an iPhone accessory? When it's a musical instrument.
At first glance, you may think you've got Artiphon's Instrument 1 all figured out. On the surface it looks like some sort of mobile take on Guitar Hero that runs on your smartphone or MP3 player instead of a video game system.
But as Mashable explains in their in-depth review, the Instrument One is most certainly more than just an “appcessory.” Instead, it's a real musical instrument in its own right. Scratch that, it's a real multi-instrument that uses your iPhone or iPod Touch “as its brain.”
Made of genuine hardwood and sporting high-end speakers, it doesn't really look like a guitar, or a keyboard, or any other instrument per se, but that's the whole point. As Artiphon founder Mike Butera told Mashable, the Instrument 1 intentionally stays away from trying to replicate any specific instrument so that musicians are free to use it any way they want. So you can play it like a violin if you want, but it's really up to you.
According to Mashable, “The Instrument 1 works with any core MIDI enabled app, but there are plans to release a companion app for more detailed / custom mappings in the future.”
We're not sure what to make of the Instrument 1 yet, or whether we'd actually play one. But we've got to give it credit for being one case where the iPhone accessory outshines the device.