We’re not sure how effective the Ion Audio Piano Apprentice will be when it comes to building up your actual keyboard skills. Looking like a cross between a toy and a serious gadget, it makes for one attractive and interesting learning contraption, though.
Designed to work with iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices, the docking accessory will work with an app that runs on your iOS gadget. During practice sessions, the app will play a video demo from Scott Houston (aka the Piano Guy) that you can use as reference for hand positions, while the keys on the accessory light up so you’ll know which ones to tickle.
The Ion Audio Piano Apprentice is a Core MIDI-compliant 25-note keyboard with a docking area right above the ivories where you can slip the iPad for viewing in landscape mode. Built-in speakers play the recorded piano sounds while you fiddle with the notes, with power fed to the accessory using either an AC adapter (for home use) or four AA batteries (if you want to take your piano lessons on the road). The app, available for download from the App Store, includes tutorial for reading notes, so you can learn like you would from a legit music teacher.
Personally, I’m still waiting for the day when I can just download piano skills into my brain to learn the damn thing. If you’re the type, however, who’s willing to put in any actual work, you can get the Ion Audio Piano Apprentice beginning September, priced at $100.