The age of the iPod might be over, but music artist Neil Young doesn't believe portable media players are dead. On March 15th, he'll offer pre-orders on Kickstarter for the PonoPlayer, a $399 triangular digital music player designed to sound worlds better. The company describes the sound as "studio master-quality digital music at the highest audio fidelity possible," giving listeners the ability to "experience music the way the artists intended."
The player is designed to be paired with the upcoming PonoMusic.com service, which will offer "the finest quality, highest-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent indpendent labels," according to the company. The device will ship with 128GB of storage, enough to store between 100 and 500 albums of such music, with expansion via memory card, and will feature an LCD touchscreen in addition to its three physical buttons.
Young first promised Pono would arrive in 2013, appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman to announce his foray into the world of consumer electronics and showing off a prototype that looks remarkably similar to the current design. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea called the audio quality "a drastic difference" at the time. The product later got pushed to 2014. Today's news comes courtesy of Computer Audiophile founder Chris Connaker, who got permission to publish an early press release. In addition to the release, Connaker has unearthed some more details about the device, including the specific ESS ES9018 digital to analog converter chip used in the player. Connaker also reports that PonoMusic will no longer feature any sort of DRM.
Update: PonoMusic appears to have had a serious typo in their original press release. While the original stated that the 128GB of storage would hold between 1,000 and 2,000 albums, it has since been changed to read that the player will hold 100 to 500 albums instead. We've changed this article to reflect that.