Rolling Stone reports that Pono is in fact a music ecosystem: a music download store, a tool that converts digital audio files into analogue-sounding recordings, and a range of audio players.
The digital-to-analogue conversion technology is, apparently, intended to "present songs as they first sound during studio recording sessions" according to Rolling Stone. Quite how that works is anybody's guess at the moment—as is whether it actually works particularly well.
The player that Young showed off on TV is... well, unique, to say the least. A big, bright yellow triangular prism, it looks a bit like a tube of candy. Controls look pretty minimal, the screen fairly small and there seem to be two headphone sockets, too, by the looks of things. All in, it looks kinda wacky, and a far cry from the sleek lines of the modern gadgets we're used to.
According to Rolling Stone, one of the few people to hear what a difference Young's technology makes is Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea. He explained that "it's not like some vague thing that you need dogs' ears to hear. It's a drastic difference." For now, we'll reserve judgement. [Rolling Stone via The Verge]