"ip.horn" iPhone Speaker
Rare and Unplugged
The ip.horn speaker is an extremely rare item, currently sold only at a number of events in held in Japan. The manufacturer prefers to remain anonymous, because the craftsmen make the ip.horn in their spare time, outside of regular company business. Nonetheless, the company, which makes wood products - many which seem to have something to do with science, technology, and music - has been selling them quite successfully in the 7 months or so since they started the business.
The ip.horn is made primarily of walnut. Walnut is a hardwood, dense and heavy, and is frequently used in furniture and cabinetry. It is also very frequently used in making speakers.
The ip.horn speaker works not unlike a horn loudspeaker. It uses the iPhone's internal speaker as the compression driver and its body forms the horn element to make the sound louder. In addition, the wood itself vibrates and makes the sound much richer and natural than the internal speaker itself.
Looking closely at the details, one can see in the front that the wood is cut in layers, with the chamber forming a curve like a horn loudspeaker. Looking underneath, the horn shape is even more evident. Each curved line is cut very carefully to make the chamber sound both loud and clear.
The company currently makes two basic designs for iPhones, one that has a slot in the rear (shown in the image at the top right) so that the iPhone can be charged while playing audio. The other design has no slot and thus the iPhone cannot be recharged while using the ip.horn. A few other designs exist depending on the whim of the manufacturer.
One is made for the iPad. It is made primarily for the iPad mini, but can actually be used with the larger iPad. Another design is for the iPhone, but is larger than the one shown above, with the iPhone sitting on one side. The horn is cut in a way that the sound on one side mimics a subwoofer, making the sound richer and more natural.
According to the manufacturer, he prefers the smaller, cooler look and sound of the current model, because it matches his taste in design and in sound.
Who makes ip.horn?
The answer to this question, unfortunately, is anyone's guess. A web search reveals almost nothing. However, there are two Facebook pages that have images from the most recent Design Festa #39 that show ip.horns on display. Omo-pro and Buppan Band Jiru are, no doubt, connected with the company that makes ip.horn. Buppan Band Jiru is apparently a musical group, known in English as Folk Jamboree.
There are several other products that are very similar to ip.horn. They try to employ the same sound principles to amplify the iPhone audio with or without additional electrical support. I have seen and listened to a few such products. To my eyes and ears, ip.horn is superior in both quality of design and audio.
This YouTube clip does not give it justice, but it may pique your interest.
If you are interested further in ip.horn, please contact me. I have a way to contact the manufacturer, even though they are not interested in expanding their business of making ip.horn. :-)