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Artiphon Instrument 1

We're still amazed at the music people create with nothing more than an iPhone and Garageband — but watching someone play with their phone on stage sounds a bit like our last date. So, in an attempt to make playing music on a phone more entertaining, Artiphon created the Instrument 1 ($800). It's an ergonomic body, made from hardwood, that houses your iPhone or iPod Touch and lends a more tactile quality to playing music digitally. With a virtual fingerboard and strum pad, it actually feels like a real instrument. And with plenty of audio outputs and two integrated speakers, it sounds good too.

  • iOS 7

    Skeuomorphic-design haters rejoice. iOS 7 ($TBA) does away with the much-maligned design trend that attempts to make apps appear like their real-life counterparts (no more felt and stitches), while introducing a redesigned UI and a number of features. Changes start with the lock screen, which now animates in parallax to your movement and includes notifications even before swiping. The new Control Center gives you important settings and buttons from nearly any app and quick access to music controls and a flashlight. iOS in the Car brings your device, eyes-free, to a host of car makes. Couple those changes with iTunes Radio, and improvements to multiTasking, Safari, Airdrop, Camera, Siri, and theft deterrence, and you get a pretty impressive release.

  • iXoost

    Giving "exhaust notes" a whole new meaning, iXoost ($6548-$8906) combines the form of an automotive header with the function of a stereo iPod dock. Milled from aluminum and available in a range of customizable color combinations, it's an entertainment system, centerpiece and conversation-starter perfect for your garage or man cave. The eight- and 10-cylinder models have two tweeters, two midrange speakers and two subwoofers, while the 12-cylinder model adds two speakers — making it sound even better than it looks. We don't care what you play through it, just so long as you turn it up.