A short while ago I caught sight of this accessory at an Apple themed event in Tokyo. I couldn’t believe someone hasn’t done this before. An iPhone add-on that turns your geek-phone into a real musical instrument!
I finally got my hands on one and have had a great time testing it out over the last few days. Sure there are lots of apps that simulate every musical instrument on the planet, but I always felt the experience was somewhat lacking. Now I know what was needed.
The Fingerist is made by Japan based Trinity inc, and was developed in cooperation with local Apple fans and musicians to create a totally new musical instrument. Basically an Apple dock connected to a speaker, the Fingerist turns any iPhone or iPod Touch into a something truly unique.
How it works
The Fingerist is about the size of a Ukulele and requires three AA batteries to operate. Once you have put in the batteries, simply slide your iPhone or iPod Touch onto the dock and push it into the small recess in the middle of the Fingerist. There is a small latch that will hold the iPhone in and a spring to keep it from wobbling around loose. Then turn on the volume, start up any musical instrument app and you are ready to go. I tried Pocket Guitar and Frontier’s Guitar app and had a blast plinking away. The built in 3 watt speaker offers clear sound that will fill a small room, and there is even a standard quarter inch output plug for larger amplifiers.
Build and Quality
I have to admit, I was just a small bit let down when I actually held the Fingerist for the first time. While it looked at first glance like the casing was made with real wood, close inspection reveals that it is made almost entirely of high end plastic. It’s actually very good quality and I had to look closely to tell, but the wooden parts are molded plastic with a special coating. It actually feels very good and makes the whole thing lighter than I was expecting, but I still would have preferred solid wood. On the whole however, I have to say the build quality is excellent. The speaker is great and provides great sound and the whole thing has a very nice solid feel. The use of the Apple dock interface means no loose wires.
I was really impressed with the packaging for the Fingerist. First of all, it didn’t come in a box. It actually comes in a very nice soft case. Not only does it reduce wasteful packaging, but it also saves you from having to buy a carrying case. Great idea!
Inside the case there is the Fingerist, a guitar style strap, and three silicon cases. These are used to protect your iPhone/iPod and create a custom fit so it will blend into the front face without a gap. I was very surprised to see that in addition to an iPhone 3G/3Gs and iPod Touch case, there was also a case for the unreleased iPhone 4!
Price and Availability
The Fingerist was shown off at CES and promised a March release. It seems that some problems with manufacturing has delayed the launch, but it is now available in Japan for 14,800 yen. It should be available soon in the United States for a $150.00. Pretty reasonable price for a fun and unique accessory.
Here’s a video of the Fingerist in action.