Sneak Peek from the Consumer Electronics Show - Rolling Stone
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Sneak Peek from the Consumer Electronics Show

The best new teases from the floor

Ion Audio managing director William 'Jeff' Fortin displays the Ion Audio Guitar Apprentice during a press event at The Venetian for the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Although the annual gadget and tech industry mecca the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) doesn’t officially open its doors until tomorrow, software developers and hardware manufacturers have already begun to tease attendees with promising new attractions. Highlights include a range of original music accessories, teaching tools, apps and online services that may give listeners new reasons to consider a high-tech upgrade.

Out of the gate, music accessory maker Ion Audio is touting its new guitar training tool, Guitar Apprentice, which hopes to pick up where Guitar Hero left off by teaching real-world technique. It includes a full-size but more lightweight axe controller modeled after Gibson guitars that includes a slot for an iPad in its center (and syncs with an accompanying app). By causing buttons in the neck to light up, it aims to teach proper finger placement, chord progression and music theory and will ship this summer for around $100, despite earlier rival Rocksmith’s lukewarm reception. Systems will feature a built-in speaker and special effects such as delay and distortion, and they will be compatible with multiple applications (including popular creation tool GarageBand).

Celebrity audio outfit House of Marley also plans to roll out a portable, canvas- and wood-encased stereo system cum boombox inspired by Bob Marley. The eco-friendly Bag of Rhythm will retail for $349.99 and be compatible with both the iPhone and iPod. Models will offer two 4-inch speakers, twin 1-inch 32 watt tweeters and an amplifier, plus roughly half a dozen hours of rechargeable battery life (AC adapter also available). Fans should be able to “get up, stand up” and go with the accessory when it ships in February.

New free iPhone, iPod touch and iPad app SpotON Radio from Rebel and Bird AB and Springworks AB also hopes to move the dial by providing personalized radio stations that springboard off Spotify’s streaming technology. Pairing its online music service with the Echo Nest’s song recommendation and discovery engine, the App Store download allows mobile device users to craft channels based on specific artists or similar-sounding acts. Creations can be shared on social networks such as Facebook and playlists exported to Spotify for enjoyment by subscribers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new music gadget, app and service debuts, though. Expect even more news over the coming days as we report live from the show floor in Las Vegas.


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