Yes, I’m a classical player myself and couldn’t agree more about the utter inadequacy of classical guitar VSTs; it’s not the fault of the software implementation but of the extreme difficulty of simulating the complex nuances of how the strings respond to playing techniques, which no physical controller is anywhere close to capturing. The I1 is no better than anything else at this (and in some ways even worse); its real power lies in the completely new things it enables the guitarist to do with existing skills. (It’s also the best device I’ve ever known for quietly practising scales, arpeggios, and solo lines without driving your loved ones nuts.)
I’d take grumbles from discontented users with a pinch of salt. There seem to be a small but vocal minority of people – none of them on this forum – with a toxic combination of (i) completely unrealistic expectations of how closely any guitariform controller can replicate physical guitar playing technique with (ii) a laziness and inflexibility that refuses to think outside a narrow existing box and recognise the vastly expanded affordances of the I1 for existing guitarists as opening up new, different, and ultimately better ways of playing than are ever possible on a physical instrument or a more compromised simulation of a physical guitar (particularly the many that insist on physical strings rather than the fingerboard as the expressive core). As a rule of thumb, it’s usually safe to discount any comment that uses the word “toy”, which is generally a marker of a collision between a radically flexible instrument and an unhelpfully inflexible mindset.
I don’t myself have any problems with the I1 development cycle, though it’s a sign of how distracted Artiphon are with the Orba juggernaut that we haven’t seen any response yet to the identification of the string flip bug last week, which is something that normally they’d be on to. But the I1 was already way, way ahead of the game three years ago and rolled out a rapid series of firmware updates from full MPE compliance to Smart Strum that have left it pretty much feature-complete. If you ask ten people what exactly it should have by now that it hasn’t already got and that competitors have, you’ll get ten different answers, most of them either niche obsessions or trivial niggles.
I don’t think the I1 is perfect, and it’s fairly obvious from the Orba specs that if Artiphon were launching it in 2020 they’d have included Bluetooth MIDI and an internal synth. (I’m fairly sure the possibility of an enhanced I1 model with those features will be somewhere in Artiphon’s wishlist of fantasy futures if the Orba’s enormously greater user base and contribution to their business model doesn’t consume all their attention and leave I1 development languishing, which is my big fear.) But for anyone who loves the guitar fingerboard as the greatest cognitive and ergonomic invention in musical history, the I1 is what your life has been leading up to.