The Ion LP2CD plays records and CDs, and can also route audio from any device plugged into the stereo line input located on the back. The turntable's killer feature, however, is its ability to record from any of those same audio sources and burn the results to a recordable CD.
To accomplish this, the LP2CD includes 700MB of built-in flash memory (the same capacity as an average blank CD), allowing you to temporarily store recordings before burning them to CD. If you want to make a copy of a CD, you can rip the whole disc or just the songs you want to the internal memory and then burn it back to a blank disc. To capture vinyl, just put the needle to the groove and hit the record button, and the LP2CD will suck the recording into its memory. Hit the Burn Disc button when you're done and presto! You've turned one antique format into a somewhat less antique format.
To make recordings directly to your computer over USB, Ion includes software for capturing, editing, and exporting your recordings directly to programs like iTunes. If you're going to go this route, however, you may as well save some money and buy a USB turntable without the CD recording capability. Besides, recording to the turntable's internal memory is just as fast, sounds just as good, and automatically detects the silence between songs and split tracks accordingly (manual edits are also possible).
Making digital recordings from analog sources such as vinyl is an inherently noisy and imperfect process. The LP2CD can't make your records sound better, but the results are accurate and detailed--dust, scratches, hiss, and all.
For the money, you're paying mostly for convenience. If you're only thinking about digitally transferring a handful of records, you'd do just as well to save some money and grab a strictly computer-connected turntable like the Ion iTTUSB, or the iPTUSB. It's the people who are staring down a library of hundreds of records or other analog recordings who will really appreciate the CD ripping and automatic track splitting features of the LP2CD system and get their money's worth from the purchase.