what does pono mean?
Pono is a Hawaiian word meaning "righteousness" or "righteous". Neil Young's Pono player is a device which can play high-fidelity digital music files from either a hard drive, an external USB hardware drive, or the computer's memory.
With the help of this equipment, you can experience sound like never before by manipulating audio in three dimensions: position (left/right), time (forward/backward), and amplitude. Pono promises to deliver better sound with less distortion than other recording devices on market today.
Naming rights for his business are currently sold at $9 million dollars with up to 100% of profits going back into research and development and promotion. The company states that Neil Young, himself, will have NOTHING to do with Pono other than name and some publicity.
Pono's "Made for iPhone" app will be available in the iTunes App Store and the Pono Music Store on October 3, 2015. The music market is worth over $10 billion dollars, so this is a huge opportunity for Pono if they are able to capture even 5% of the market.
First units were announced to ship in June 2015, but later that month the company said they were delayed until a later date. Although no specific date was given, the company stated that Pono devices would be "coming soon". A $1M investment was made by Dr. Dre for a 10% share in Pono.
On September 8, 2016 the company announced that it would close its online store, refunding all customers who had preordered devices. The closure came despite having raised more than $6 million from investors and having taken in $5.5 million in online sales of its Pono Music Players. It was expected to launch with over 500 artists on October 15, 2015 including Paul McCartney, Metallica and the Dave Matthews Band. A former employee stated that he heard from a colleague at PonoMusic that the company had ceased production of its hardware products when they ran out of money.