The reason why it's not exactly new is that there have been USB connected guitars around for a few years, but Fender has gone one better in that this one is designed for iOS device so you can record without any additional hardware. A USB to 30 pin cable comes standard with the guitar, and the axe also has as a built in 1/8th inch headphone jack for some silent practicing without even plugging in.
I have to say that while this seems cool on the surface, one of the worst connectors for a guitar is a USB connector. Wanna bet how many times it disconnects on your first session with it?
Plus, why buy a guitar just because it has a USB connector on it? For not all that much money you can buy an adapter to plug directly into your iPhone or iPad (this Petersen cable is less than $10) or something more sophisticated like the IK Multimedia iRig, the Pocketlabworks iRiff Port, the Line 6 Mobile In, or even the Apogee Jam. All are a lot cheaper than the $199 for the USB Strat and you can use your existing guitar.
All that said, at least Fender has moved into the future somewhat, even though it's more like sticking you little toe in the water.
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