Looks like Gibson has announced that their much lauded Dark Fire super duper automatically tuning robo-guitar is delayed. While the message indicates that they want to ship the guitars with the digital RIP interface box (a terrible name --makes me think of Rest In Peace!) if you read between the lines, it sounds like there's some software issues holding things up.
Unfortunately, Dark Fire just wasn’t ready ― almost, just barely, but not quite.
Dark Fire has to be flawless. Period. Because there are so many software and hardware components and because we’d set the bar so high, we didn’t anticipate the amount of time it would take to go from “it works” to “it’s perfect.” And for you, our valued and respected customers, it must be perfect. Anything less, and it would not be a Gibson.
Every computer has software and most software needs to be updated at some point or another ― the same is true for Dark Fire, which has a computer inside. Included with the guitar is firmware that allows us to constantly upgrade and improve the usability of the instrument...
In fact, we’ve already made significant improvements that will require a firmware update upon receipt of your RIP package. Once the RIP software is installed on your computer, you can run the RIP console, which will automatically check both the RIP and the guitar.
My guess is they've found some problems that have to be fixed in software and the problem is severe enough that they don't want to leave it to be done (or ignored) by the dealers and end users. If anyone has more information on this, let me know.
It's not the first time that software has been found to have bugs or that a project has been delayed. That's one of the growing problems with an increasingly computerized world of music. Peavey, Fender, Line6 and many other companies have routinely needed to issue embedded software (also called firmware) updates to amps, guitars and pedals that do digital modeling.
Still, if you're spending upwards of 3 grand on a guitar, it's good that Gibson is keeping the quality bar high. Better to have a delay to get things right than to ruin the experience (and reputation) of what looks to be a pretty cool guitar.