iOS Music App Developers – Where’s The MIDI? (Rant)

electronic piano synthesizer

We’ve been advocates for the potential of iOS music making since the release of the original iPhone, and we’ve taken some criticism for it. (Usually along the lines of – ‘You suck!!! Change the site name to AppTopia!!!!”)

<rant>

But recently, it seems like rarely a day goes by without a developer introducing a powerful music app for iOS, with a good looking interface and lots of features……but with absolutely no mention of MIDI support.

Today’s example is Electronic Piano Synthesizer – a new music app that looks pretty interesting:

Electronic Piano Synthesizer (EPS) is the world first piano synthesizer for the iPad. Based on a 32bit realtime sound engine, the sounds were computed on the fly, no samples were used.

The EPS gives you possibilities you donΒ΄t have with any other Piano or EPiano on the iPad. You can change the sound while you play on the keyboard and hear the changes immediately. That is what you need to tweak your own sounds. The main use for EPS is EPiano sounds, but you can also make sounds like bass, brass , bells, chimes, toms, vibraphone…

So far, pretty wicked. And the $1.99 price makes it a ‘fun size’ purchase.

But checking out the specs, there’s no mention of MIDI.

EPS offersΒ 32-bit float point polyphonic realtime sound engine, 32 library patches. multiple FX (vibrato, tremolo, delay, tube overdrive) and more – but no MIDI support. (Or OSC).

We certainly don’t mean to single out Electronic Piano Synthesizer – because it looks like it could develop into an interesting music app. There’s no lack of music apps that could use some MIDI love.

Developers – Synthtopia gets a little over 300,000 unique visitors a month, and about half of our readers seem to be very interested in mobile music apps.Β That represents a lot of interest in serious mobile music apps. And MIDI support is one of the first things these readers are looking for in your apps’ specs.

If your music app doesn’t support MIDI (or OSC), it immediately gets scratched off the shopping list for a lot of mobile music app users. That $1.99 purchase is no longer a no-brainer.

So, iOS music app developers……where’s the MIDI?

</rant>

Got your own thoughts about the state of MIDI support in iOS music apps? Leave a comment with your thoughts….

79 thoughts on “iOS Music App Developers – Where’s The MIDI? (Rant)

  1. It makes me nutz too! MIDI NOW FOR THE FUTURE! (none of these developers are even old enough to remember that industry ad campaign – I still got the sticker on my Anvil).

  2. Well, here's a rant from a developer:

    Everyone expects a LOT from apps, and what they don't realize is how difficult and time consuming it is to develop them. The audio and MIDI frameworks are basically undocumented, making it all the more difficult for developers. Then, the apps are priced to compete with companies like Korg and Apple that have tons of cash to burn through for marketing and development. And everyone has a feature they feel like the app needs, and without it 'it's crap'. A lot of these developers pour an enormous amount of time and energy to make something. Can you blame them for wanting to sell a few so that they can afford to keep going while they add more features? (And when it comes to features, the demand for more is never ending.)

  3. It sounds like Apple's tight-fistedness about documenting audio & MIDI services within iOS is the issue. Developers should be making more of a stink (like above).

  4. The problem is also that IOS users expect 2$-10$ apps to have the same features as 200$-1000$+ software.

    IOS users are known to be serious whining machines πŸ˜€

  5. The issue remains that developers don't get a lot of credit for how hard and time consuming this stuff is to make. People shouldn't discount version 1 products so quickly.

    It's not about tight-fistedness (in this case) — core MIDI only became available in iOS 4.2 (not that long ago). Yes, apple needs to improve their docs, but they have a *huge* SDK to cover, and overall the documentation quality is very good (of course, some will no doubt argue). It's lacking in audio. It's definitely and issue, and yes, developers complain to them frequently about it.

  6. loopstationzebra will come in to fill in on the other side…any moment now. I added MIDI into Pythagoras/Geo (the Mugician successor), and I like the result; in spite of bends and channels being such an insane hassle for the sort of instrument I am making. The simple stuff is trivial, and MIDI is wonderful for that. It's not really even possible to do 100% correctly if you have large pitch bends going in different directions.

    End users really just don't understand the difference it can make in support hassles. You can test all the scenarios for a self-contained app. If a small, but fixed percentage of your users can't get the camera connection kit to work, then there is a horde of users blaming you, even if you called all of the APIs correctly.

    MIDI Wifi has horrible, awful latency. If you are doing a beat-machine oriented app, you might not notice it too much. But it's nearly useless compared to the CCK if you have to play fast and accurate. (Maybe MIDI over bluetooth to remove the need for connecting to third party network infrastructure… I just don't see Wifi flying in real-world scenarios.)

  7. http://syntheticbits.com/blog/?p=508 http://www.finger-pro.com/docs/avoiding-the-pitfa

    Yes. WIFI MIDI is absolute BS, isn't reliable, and takes 10x the amount of time to set up as plugging in the CCK and a midi interface. Yet, this is far far far more common than a simple coremidi implementation via the CCK/interface.

    I'm not saying its not hard, because I'm sure its damn difficult. But It's been almost a year since CoreMIDI was introduced on iOS for developers, and iOS CoreMIDI is very similar to OSX CoreMIDI, which has been around for a LONG time. Obviously some developers have devoted enough time to learn it, implement it, and even blog about ways to implement it.

    What it really comes down to is,
    A) Many users will not use WIFI/MIDI, due to reliability and difficulty of setup (outside of the home studio)
    B) Without CoreMIDI, unless someone is looking for a toy or a way to simply generate samples or play, chances are serious musicians will be immediately turned off by the lack of CoreMIDI implementation.
    C) The longer developers take to get serious about CoreMIDI on iOS, the longer apps will appear as toys.

    I really really hope that developers get better at implementing CoreMIDI, because if you love what you do, as a developer, the difficulty of implementing this won't matter. In fact, the level of professionalism associated with have a full featured and fully compatible app (with CoreMIDI, even at a slight premium for all your hard work) will generate far FAR more income and app/dev fans than selling a MIDI-less toy for a cheaper price.

  8. http://syntheticbits.com/blog/?p=508 http://www.finger-pro.com/docs/avoiding-the-pitfa

    Yes. WIFI MIDI is absolute BS, isn't reliable, and takes 10x the amount of time to set up as plugging in the CCK and a midi interface. Yet, this is far far far more common than a simple coremidi implementation via the CCK/interface.

    I'm not saying its not hard, because I'm sure its damn difficult. But It's been almost a year since CoreMIDI was introduced on iOS for developers, and iOS CoreMIDI is very similar to OSX CoreMIDI, which has been around for a LONG time. Obviously some developers have devoted enough time to learn it, implement it, and even blog about ways to implement it.

    What it really comes down to is,
    A) Many users will not use WIFI/MIDI, due to reliability and difficulty of setup (outside of the home studio)
    B) Without CoreMIDI, unless someone is looking for a toy or a way to simply generate samples or play, chances are serious musicians will be immediately turned off by the lack of CoreMIDI implementation.
    C) The longer developers take to get serious about CoreMIDI on iOS, the longer apps will appear as toys.

    I really really hope that developers get better at implementing CoreMIDI, because if you love what you do, as a developer, the difficulty of implementing this won't matter. In fact, the level of professionalism associated with have a full featured and fully compatible app (with CoreMIDI, even at a slight premium for all your hard work) will generate far FAR more income and app/dev fans than selling a MIDI-less toy for a cheaper price.

  9. http://syntheticbits.com/blog/?p=508 http://www.finger-pro.com/docs/avoiding-the-pitfa

    Yes. WIFI MIDI is absolute BS, isn't reliable, and takes 10x the amount of time to set up as plugging in the CCK and a midi interface. Yet, this is far far far more common than a simple coremidi implementation via the CCK/interface.

    I'm not saying its not hard, because I'm sure its damn difficult. But It's been almost a year since CoreMIDI was introduced on iOS for developers, and iOS CoreMIDI is very similar to OSX CoreMIDI, which has been around for a LONG time. Obviously some developers have devoted enough time to learn it, implement it, and even blog about ways to implement it.

    What it really comes down to is,
    A) Many users will not use WIFI/MIDI, due to reliability and difficulty of setup (outside of the home studio)
    B) Without CoreMIDI, unless someone is looking for a toy or a way to simply generate samples or play, chances are serious musicians will be immediately turned off by the lack of CoreMIDI implementation.
    C) The longer developers take to get serious about CoreMIDI on iOS, the longer apps will appear as toys.

    I really really hope that developers get better at implementing CoreMIDI, because if you love what you do, as a developer, the difficulty of implementing this won't matter. In fact, the level of professionalism associated with have a full featured and fully compatible app (with CoreMIDI, even at a slight premium for all your hard work) will generate far FAR more income and app/dev fans than selling a MIDI-less toy for a cheaper price.

  10. http://syntheticbits.com/blog/?p=508 http://www.finger-pro.com/docs/avoiding-the-pitfa

    Yes. WIFI MIDI is absolute BS, isn't reliable, and takes 10x the amount of time to set up as plugging in the CCK and a midi interface. Yet, this is far far far more common than a simple coremidi implementation via the CCK/interface.

    I'm not saying its not hard, because I'm sure its damn difficult. But It's been almost a year since CoreMIDI was introduced on iOS for developers, and iOS CoreMIDI is very similar to OSX CoreMIDI, which has been around for a LONG time. Obviously some developers have devoted enough time to learn it, implement it, and even blog about ways to implement it.

    What it really comes down to is,
    A) Many users will not use WIFI/MIDI, due to reliability and difficulty of setup (outside of the home studio)
    B) Without CoreMIDI, unless someone is looking for a toy or a way to simply generate samples or play, chances are serious musicians will be immediately turned off by the lack of CoreMIDI implementation.
    C) The longer developers take to get serious about CoreMIDI on iOS, the longer apps will appear as toys.

    I really really hope that developers get better at implementing CoreMIDI, because if you love what you do, as a developer, the difficulty of implementing this won't matter. In fact, the level of professionalism associated with have a full featured and fully compatible app (with CoreMIDI, even at a slight premium for all your hard work) will generate far FAR more income and app/dev fans than selling a MIDI-less toy for a cheaper price.

  11. http://syntheticbits.com/blog/?p=508 http://www.finger-pro.com/docs/avoiding-the-pitfa

    Yes. WIFI MIDI is absolute BS, isn't reliable, and takes 10x the amount of time to set up as plugging in the CCK and a midi interface. Yet, this is far far far more common than a simple coremidi implementation via the CCK/interface.

    I'm not saying its not hard, because I'm sure its damn difficult. But It's been almost a year since CoreMIDI was introduced on iOS for developers, and iOS CoreMIDI is very similar to OSX CoreMIDI, which has been around for a LONG time. Obviously some developers have devoted enough time to learn it, implement it, and even blog about ways to implement it.

    What it really comes down to is,
    A) Many users will not use WIFI/MIDI, due to reliability and difficulty of setup (outside of the home studio)
    B) Without CoreMIDI, unless someone is looking for a toy or a way to simply generate samples or play, chances are serious musicians will be immediately turned off by the lack of CoreMIDI implementation.
    C) The longer developers take to get serious about CoreMIDI on iOS, the longer apps will appear as toys.

    I really really hope that developers get better at implementing CoreMIDI, because if you love what you do, as a developer, the difficulty of implementing this won't matter. In fact, the level of professionalism associated with have a full featured and fully compatible app (with CoreMIDI, even at a slight premium for all your hard work) will generate far FAR more income and app/dev fans than selling a MIDI-less toy for a cheaper price.

  12. Fair response – but we still want that MIDI!

    I'm also amazed at how many people think every iOS app needs to be under $10. A lot of these apps have similar desktop counterparts that have been selling for more.

    On the documentation – there's been a lot of knowledge-sharing among developers, but better official documentation would probably give this a jumpstart.

  13. Adding midi support to an app may take between 20 and 30 hours, but more likely to do a good job it could take a 100 hours of work. Selling an app at $1.99 means you have to sell 1408 copies to get paid $20 an hour for your time. Some people want midi, some people want an app to be released a month earlier πŸ™‚

  14. Rob – I was interested to read your comments about adding MIDI to Pythagoras, especially since I'd thought you were going the opposite way. Pythagoras seems like one of those serious music apps where not having MIDI might make sense, given what you're doing with it.

    On the MIDI WiFi – this seems like a cool feature for working at home or maybe jamming with a couple of friends, but it could get really interesting trying to perform live with it.

  15. I would pose two thoughts:
    1 – If we are honest about how a majority of "musicians" use instruments these days, it's primarily to play loops and maybe bang out a few triads. That can easily be done on a virtual keyboard. If I were designing an app for larger distribution, I would easily put midi support lower on the feature list. I tend to take an app more seriously when I know I can route input from any of my various keyboards to it, but I also don't discount it knowing that when I'm not sitting at my 88 weighted key controller I can still have fun and be productive.
    2 – Given what a tremendous "magic box" any touch screen portable device really is, and how low cost the apps really are, and how very early we are in the development of apps for them, I think it's pretty damn heroic to even have an on-screen midi keyboard! Put this into a better perspective… if your biggest complaint about mobile music apps after only a couple of years is "spotty midi support", just imaging how awesome it's all going to be in another two years! Give it time, and enjoy the cool stuff we are already getting at break-neck speed.

  16. "The problem is also that IOS users expect 2$-10$ apps to have the same features as 200$-1000$+ software. "

    You speak the truth – but iOS is also a platform where developers don't have to worry about having 10 pirate users for every legitimate one, having to support a million possible hardware configurations, getting their software into stores, or a lot of other expensive hassles.

    It makes sense that the economics are very different – but mobile musicians need to support developers that put the effort into creating deep music apps.

  17. "Some people want midi, some people want an app to be released a month earlier :-)"

    There's no problem with people selling 'music toy' type apps.

    But when developers create relatively complex music apps and leave out MIDI support, they lose the people that are actually interested in deep music apps, who might actually pay a bit more to get a more powerful tool.

  18. MiDi's great, for sure, but what I'd really love is a way to move real-time audio between apps, a la ReWire/Jack.

  19. lack of dsp power and you want midi sync in real time? people are now coming face to face with the real issues with this rudimentary technology. it's like going from a formula 1 to a yugo.

  20. Gotta watch out for those rudimentary technologies like the iPad.

    They'll set things back 10 years, if you let them!

  21. It took quite a bit more than a few hours in my case, because MIDI basically can't really do what I want but I got close enough that it's useful to double the audio.

    If you are doing polyphonic fretlessness, you need a crazy state machine to handle every finger as an independent channel and cycle through a span of identical instruments on many channels, and have tricks to retrigger the note when you exceed bend width. when dumb synths mash all this back down to one channel behind your back, you get dropped notes when you overlap instances of the same note (ie: two A2's from different sides of the board, etc). some synths don't seem to be giving the same frequency for the exact same note/bend combo. wifi latency, stuck notes when you accidentally kick out the CCK, etc. … i could go on and on about how wierd this is compared to simply having independently manipulated frequencies on a synth that's uploaded into the iPad.

    midi and continuous glass surface controller don't really mix, as i have ranted about in previous posts. there will be a Max/Pd-like standard around GPU-bearing mobile devices. it has to happen like this.

  22. Really? Because about a month into our first release our app was on a flood of pirate blogs for jailbroken devices. It was flattering — I mean, at least it means they like the app. But, piracy is still an issue. No way to know for sure what the proportion is…

  23. (To the rest of your points though — very true, the app store removes a lot of costs and gets you in front of a big audience. )

  24. Oh, and I was also relentlessly testing tempo changes on that setup and everything responded perfectly.

  25. I don't get it. The guys at Finger have ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NAILED IOS MIDI. It's FLAWLESS..and they've fully shared their knowledge on how to do it. I had wifi MIDI going with Bassline and MoDrum on my iPad connected to my laptop via Ableton Live AND also running Funkbox on my iPhone. That's TWO apps running on the iPad and one on the iPhone – being driven by a Network MIDI wifi connection from Ableton. I left it running for hours, came back, and the sync was still perfect.

    The fabulous Art at Synthetic Bits has also published an AWESOME article on how to get CoreMIDI up and running. http://syntheticbits.com/blog/?p=508

    The Keys To The MIDI Kingdom are all out there for the taking. It's simply a matter of will. For the record, hardwire MIDI is always my preference and hopefully the iODock and iConnectMIDI will solve those issues – except for apps like touchAble that must rely on a network connection due to Apple's restrictions of accessing APIs via hardwire.

  26. Synthetic Bits is awesome, and their blog posts are great. However, every app is going to have to sort out a number of issues. Plus, those blog posts came out a month ago. Even with that knowledge, you expect a developer to turn it into a working app (add it to an existing app) in no time flat. These things take TIME. Enormous amounts of time. For those of us who had MIDI in their apps 6 months ago, the time wasn't just spent learning how core MIDI works — it was also spent figuring out how to make the app work with it properly, and efficiently, and reliably.

    That's the problem. I don't know why some seem to think this stuff just magically happens. Even the tiniest features create a whole new set of issues to consider. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions, and while all the new info that's showing up everywhere will certainly help the new developers, give them some time to make it work properly.

  27. Nobody expects anything overnight, but it's quite clear that many devs aren't even trying – and many still don't even see the value of adding MIDI to their apps. I mean, look at Rudess ffs. Two apps and still no MIDI, lol. That's laughable, but far from the norm.

    And many devs have had MONTHS to add CoreMIDI at this point and still don't bother. How in the world can you claim to have a state-of-the-art synth app and no full function CoreMIDI.

    Brah, whatever. I can only go by what the guys at Finger told me directly – that it's a somewhat tedious process to get CoreMIDI going but by no means requires a PhD and certainly doesn't require eons.

  28. Thank you Synthtopia! I hope they hear you! I have been looking at the Tenori-on app for iPad but as soon as I read it has no midi output capabilities, I scratched it off my must have list.

  29. Hi Developer,

    Customer here. I'm sorry to hear it's hard work. My job has some significant portions that are hard work and not much fun too.

    Are you telling Apple that you want the tools to make MIDI a practical option. Have you explained that it impacts on your sales, and reminded them that that impacts on their profits?

    Yes, we do have features we want, and sometimes we are blunt in expressing it. As someone who used to deal face to face with state benefit claimants I suspect you don't know the half of it. The most popular phrase every day was "Where's my —-ing giro, you useless —-!" Here's a tip – ignore the emotion, address the request. I was an atypical counter clerk – my customers went away happy and with a giro if they were entitled, or not so happy and an explanation if they weren't, quite often after apologising for their language when they realised I wasn't useless after all. Some of the other clerks tried to admonish customers for their language. Can you imagine how well that worked?

    So, without the emotion, we do have features we want. And if you are paying attention, Synthhead is telling you that the most popular request, the one that most of us want, is MIDI.

    So would you like us to stop whinging about it and pull out our wallets? We would go away happy. πŸ™‚

  30. One ADDITIONAL rant here, from the customer, to the developers:
    Post videos of your product working, and/or mp3s/audio files of the synth app's sounds
    Most of you have verbally touted your synth apps with the words "powerful," "amazing," and "different."
    Do some marketing. If I don't see a video on your site*** of this music app you wrote, I will not buy your app.
    If I can't try before I buy, then a video is the absolute bare minimum effort you should do in marketing, especially for a product that can't be returned.
    ***And, oh yeah… build a website for you and/or your app. Good grief.

  31. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/

    Cease fire. πŸ™‚ I am working with JR on the next instrument (look at the DT tour schedule if you want to try to guess when!). Midi has been in it for a while, and I plan on having it in version 1.0. (Unshipped MorphWizMidi isn't too different)

    Jordan has done more to support music instruments on iOS than anybody in this world. He has focused on what matters, which is getting instruments on iOS that actually take special advantage of the platform. (Jordan already owns some hardware keyboards I have been told!) Now that CoreMIDI is becoming really common, it seems less likely that we will get slammed with the burden of every iPad owner who can't get the CCK to negotiate with a keyboard or get MIDI Wifi running.

    Hopefully when things ship, you will remain as active on this issue in helping us get people's MIDI issues squared away so that we can get back to our thing. πŸ˜‰ I suspect that he works on this stuff to make money, and somebody has to do the support if the app sells a lot.

  32. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/

    Cease fire. πŸ™‚ I am working with JR on the next instrument (look at the DT tour schedule if you want to try to guess when!). Midi has been in it for a while, and I plan on having it in version 1.0. (Unshipped MorphWizMidi isn't too different)

    Jordan has done more to support music instruments on iOS than anybody in this world. He has focused on what matters, which is getting instruments on iOS that actually take special advantage of the platform. (Jordan already owns some hardware keyboards I have been told!) Now that CoreMIDI is becoming really common, it seems less likely that we will get slammed with the burden of every iPad owner who can't get the CCK to negotiate with a keyboard or get MIDI Wifi running.

    Hopefully when things ship, you will remain as active on this issue in helping us get people's MIDI issues squared away so that we can get back to our thing. πŸ˜‰ I suspect that he works on this stuff to make money, and somebody has to do the support if the app sells a lot.

  33. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/

    Cease fire. πŸ™‚ I am working with JR on the next instrument (look at the DT tour schedule if you want to try to guess when!). Midi has been in it for a while, and I plan on having it in version 1.0. (Unshipped MorphWizMidi isn't too different)

    Jordan has done more to support music instruments on iOS than anybody in this world. He has focused on what matters, which is getting instruments on iOS that actually take special advantage of the platform. (Jordan already owns some hardware keyboards I have been told!) Now that CoreMIDI is becoming really common, it seems less likely that we will get slammed with the burden of every iPad owner who can't get the CCK to negotiate with a keyboard or get MIDI Wifi running.

    Hopefully when things ship, you will remain as active on this issue in helping us get people's MIDI issues squared away so that we can get back to our thing. πŸ˜‰ I suspect that he works on this stuff to make money, and somebody has to do the support if the app sells a lot.

  34. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/

    Cease fire. πŸ™‚ I am working with JR on the next instrument (look at the DT tour schedule if you want to try to guess when!). Midi has been in it for a while, and I plan on having it in version 1.0. (Unshipped MorphWizMidi isn't too different)

    Jordan has done more to support music instruments on iOS than anybody in this world. He has focused on what matters, which is getting instruments on iOS that actually take special advantage of the platform. (Jordan already owns some hardware keyboards I have been told!) Now that CoreMIDI is becoming really common, it seems less likely that we will get slammed with the burden of every iPad owner who can't get the CCK to negotiate with a keyboard or get MIDI Wifi running.

    Hopefully when things ship, you will remain as active on this issue in helping us get people's MIDI issues squared away so that we can get back to our thing. πŸ˜‰ I suspect that he works on this stuff to make money, and somebody has to do the support if the app sells a lot.

  35. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/

    Cease fire. πŸ™‚ I am working with JR on the next instrument (look at the DT tour schedule if you want to try to guess when!). Midi has been in it for a while, and I plan on having it in version 1.0. (Unshipped MorphWizMidi isn't too different)

    Jordan has done more to support music instruments on iOS than anybody in this world. He has focused on what matters, which is getting instruments on iOS that actually take special advantage of the platform. (Jordan already owns some hardware keyboards I have been told!) Now that CoreMIDI is becoming really common, it seems less likely that we will get slammed with the burden of every iPad owner who can't get the CCK to negotiate with a keyboard or get MIDI Wifi running.

    Hopefully when things ship, you will remain as active on this issue in helping us get people's MIDI issues squared away so that we can get back to our thing. πŸ˜‰ I suspect that he works on this stuff to make money, and somebody has to do the support if the app sells a lot.

  36. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/

    Cease fire. πŸ™‚ I am working with JR on the next instrument (look at the DT tour schedule if you want to try to guess when!). Midi has been in it for a while, and I plan on having it in version 1.0. (Unshipped MorphWizMidi isn't too different)

    Jordan has done more to support music instruments on iOS than anybody in this world. He has focused on what matters, which is getting instruments on iOS that actually take special advantage of the platform. (Jordan already owns some hardware keyboards I have been told!) Now that CoreMIDI is becoming really common, it seems less likely that we will get slammed with the burden of every iPad owner who can't get the CCK to negotiate with a keyboard or get MIDI Wifi running.

    Hopefully when things ship, you will remain as active on this issue in helping us get people's MIDI issues squared away so that we can get back to our thing. πŸ˜‰ I suspect that he works on this stuff to make money, and somebody has to do the support if the app sells a lot.

  37. just because it's connected doesn't mean it's capable of passing real traffic at real time speeds for real time applications. what is the bandwidth, capacity and midi thru put.. how many devices can it handle at once? is this really a viable option for serious work?

  38. I look for audio copy/paste first followed by audio email support if the app refuses to have pasteboard support. After that I look at core midi being a feature that will open up options but without the first two the app will then require a commuter connection to distribute my audio back into my iPad. At which point having my pc open leads to other things such as working in my pc DAW. If I am in my pc DAW my midi controller is now available cutting my iPads chancesof being used as a source down a step. If I can work entirely self contains in my happy iOS world my life is complete. I am trying to adopt the notion of a post pc era but having to constantly connect my iPad to my pc is making that harder to do. The developer along with apple will ultimately tell me how I am to use my device and if the developers and apple don't figure out a way to send sound files around natively then all will be mute. Hope this .02 cents means something.

  39. seriously nothing totally impressive has come out… and will not come out for the ipad. it would have already been out by now. they are on ipad 2 and there is zero mind blowing applications.

    it will all be mediocre, already done before.. but look at this cute little mobile device it can be control with.

    or …. listen to these limited production suites spew out more digital garbage as real music.

    when you're ready to get serious about music, hopefully you'll but the game controller down. not everything works like guitar hero in the real world of music.

  40. Is there *ANY* iOS app that gives you the ability to open your own midi files… then use the iPad as a full-blown MIDI sequencer ***via CoreMIDI to external devices*** with channel-by-channel control (mute/solo/midi volume level)? Anyone?

    or even just a midi file player (where you can load and play your own files), period?

  41. http://rfieldin.appspot.com/ – I agree with this 110%. To go farther, I really wish that there was an actual music instrument section that got rated based on what ends up getting used on albums and in live performances. I don't think inducing people to buy instruments that aren't actually used counts for much.

  42. You might want to check out Xewton Music Studio – it can import and export MIDI.

    There are some others, too.

  43. I've heard informally that it supports MIDI out & MIDI sync, via WiFi & CCK.

    I've yet to see any official mention of this from Yamaha.

    <Related Rant>

    If your app supports MIDI – mention it and also whether the app supports SynthStation25 & MIDI Mobilizer. Don't make people guess!

    </Related Rant>

  44. Rob

    You touch on an important point about creating instruments for iOS that take advantage of the platform's unique qualities. Very few apps have done this. And there are definitely going to be some more experimental or creative apps for which MIDI won't make sense.

    For standard virtual instrument type apps, though, apps have to support MIDI to fit into today's studios and workflows.

  45. Yamaha's TNR-i has quite remarkable Midi capabilities: it sends and receives Midi Notes on 16 different channels, and also sends realtime commands such as Clock and even Active Sensing πŸ˜‰

  46. My Mac Plus was 8khz and had better midi sync with an opcode interface and FREE software than 90% of the applications out there, linux, OSX, IOS or windows…

    Midi does NOT take any processing power compared to anything else you are doing with the Ipad. It is just obvious that the devepolers are more interested in stand alone demos that look good.

    Also WTF is it with the Korg Ims20 not syncing to midi clock when the IElectribe does? WHY WHY WHY??

  47. BTW – a;; i want to do is sync this to my other synths. I’m not asking for more than one instrument at a time and most of the time I’m not even wanting sounds from the Ipad, only multi touch controls

  48. BTW – all i want to do is sync this to my other synths. I’m not asking for more than one instrument at a time and most of the time I’m not even wanting sounds from the Ipad, only multi touch controls

  49. It might help if sites like Synthtopia published a checklist that all Music apps are reviewed against. Include features like CoreMidi, etc. It isn't uncommon for sites that evaluate software to run them against the same rigors. E.G. performance tests, or capability. Something that allows us customers to see how music software ranks against each other. In the list — something like Midi or CoreMidi might be weighted high, giving software that had such features a better review. Just a thought. Sometimes – it helps to provide a 'bar' that software will be rated and ranked against. Knowing that reviews end up with some 'score', weighted on features, ease of use, etc – might incent development teams to bake certain capabilities into their stuff.
    /ramble off

  50. CoreMIDI is okay depending on the app, but I want better than MIDI. We need more expression.

    It’s always a laugh to see people say it’s a toy and not for “serious musicians” without MIDI. MIDI makes things more toy like and fun. I have no problem with that. A serious musician can stay in sync and on time without technology. :p

    1. EXACTLY. People decrying the iPad as a toy… They are judging based on the fact that junk exists in the store, not based on the capabilities of the hardware and iOS. If there is anything we need yesterday on iPad, it's: 1) Allow the finger-area sense that exists ( and has worked fine since the first iPad ) to be approved in appstore apps ffs! 2) Pressure sense in addition to this finger area sense 3) OpenCL(?) …. The GPUs appear to be horribly underutilized where they could do a lot of good.

      Consider this: MIDI *throws away* almost all of the expression information. If you have a tablet instrument where at every single fingertip: continuous finger-area,velocity (glass shock), continuous pressure, x position for pitch, y position for yet another expression … This is far and away more expressive than MIDI. iPad does all but pressure (and the velocity isn't very good) right today.

      The main thing with expression and pressure… research what RogerLinn has been doing with Linnstrument. The main thing for them is pressure sense that's got such high resolution that they don't need an artificial ADSR envelope because it acquires it from your fingertips.

  51. I agree wholeheartedly. I think the majority of readers here have no clue about playing a real instrument. Tapping with your fingers on a touch-screen is … well … something different.

  52. To ALL iOS developers – NO MIDI NO LOLY!
    Somehow Horizon synth managed not only to develop THE best sounding (pro grade) synth for iPad that includes full MIDI support, but also at the ridiculously low price point of $5 bucks…
    … and guess what..? AU plugin is coming to your Mac as well…
    Bottom line is – lazy programming, that's all.

  53. Agreed. I've been doing PC-based recording for quite a while now (still have my Cool Edit Pro 1.0 manual) and believe we're on the cusp of true post-PC production with iOS. Over the past year I've used various camera connector gadgets to line my analog synths into various iPad DAWs and find both audio copy/paste and CoreMIDI to be essential (I use an Oxygen 25 as a controller).

    I love the idea in an earlier comment about a list of apps with their support of key aspects like these; keep that list up to date as developers include this functionality and they will see our support increase. Thanks for the opportunity to comment and to all app developers who help us express our creativity by making music.

  54. Developer

    At least one source pegs the percent of iOS users that are pirating software at 4%:
    http://appadvice.com/appnn/2010/08/jailbreakers-p

    I haven't seen comparable stats for Mac & Windows – but, at least anecdotally, many developers say that they've got way more pirated copies of their music apps in use than they do purchased.

    Any developers that are on both iOS and Mac/Windows have thoughts to share on this?

  55. Developer

    At least one source pegs the percent of iOS users that are pirating software at 4%:
    http://appadvice.com/appnn/2010/08/jailbreakers-p

    I haven't seen comparable stats for Mac & Windows – but, at least anecdotally, many developers say that they've got way more pirated copies of their music apps in use than they do purchased.

    Any developers that are on both iOS and Mac/Windows have thoughts to share on this?

  56. I wonder if this could be done collaboratively?

    If readers could agree to the checklist of must-have MIDI features, readers could say which apps offered full support.

    Thoughts?

  57. I think that a simple, old-fashioned Midi Implementation Chart would answer any question about Midi capabilities of an app. However, if the developer does not provide that, it could be a tedious task to compile it.

  58. you're living on false expectations. laptops have a hard time being a full fledged daw. good luck with your mobile device. let's be honest here.

  59. I don't think the point was for customers to stop requesting things. Also, a lot of folks have had crap jobs — you can't assume that just because someone is now a coder, that they haven't been there and can't relate.

    The question here was posed by a journalist, and the point was that a lot of these iOS developers are not big corporations — they're people working hard in their spare time, or taking a risk and putting everything into it. A bad review can do a lot of damage, and a trashing version 1 software because it doesn't have a particular feature doesn't seem responsible.

    Apps are priced to compete and others here have pointed out app X or app Y that does A or B, and costs 2 bucks — but frankly, let's wait a couple of years and see how sustainable that is. Unless people understand the level of time and effort required to put this stuff together, and how most developers are operating at a big loss, they're just paving the way for the big companies to steam roll everyone else. The smaller companies just won't last. And you, the customer, will ultimately lose. Some of the small companies will succeed due to a combination of great skills and luck. But many other equally deserving ones will not.

  60. After re-reading your original post, I want to apologize about writing 'crap jobs' — what you were saying was really all about jobs having crappy aspects to them. Working in a State Benefits office is not a 'crap job', and I'm sorry because the way my response was written it implies that. I guess what I was getting at was really that developing IS just as crappy and underpaying as most jobs can be. Not singling out one or the other in particular. Sorry!

  61. While I do agree that nothing will replace professional grade studio gear and as one who greatly appreciates analog (sone of my favorite recordings are from my c. 1988 VestaFire 4-track), I do believe there's a constructive place for platforms like iOS.

    To me it's not an either-or type thing. I like pushing myself to try new things and continue to leverage the best of the rest. To me, nothing will sound as sweet as my Moog Prodigy and Rhodes Mk I, but that doesn't mean all iOS synths are garbage.

  62. blah: Even your blatant Apple/iPad hating is good for the iOS CoreMIDI cause. I like the energy. Keep it up.

    lol.

  63. @rob fielding Of course your credentials – as well as JR's – are impecible. But even then many of us just utterly fail to understand why something like Morphwiz hasn't been updated with CoreMIDI. I'm not going to lose sleep over it (or at least not too much sleep, lol), but c'mon. JR is a huge champion for synth tech and implementing CoreMIDI in Morphwiz should have been priority number ONE before even starting SampleWiz.

    I understand time constraints and deadlines and whatnot, but seriously bro…if a single guy over at OneRedDog can get Molten up and running with great CoreMIDI, why can't JR and the resources he has at his disposal?

  64. I'm constantly hearing about LACK OF DEMAND when it comes to implementing full CoreMIDI functionality. Jebus. Since when is DEMAND a driver for innovation and ingenuity and trailblazing?

    By not adding full MIDI into apps right from the start, devs are doing themselves an enormous disservice by simply feeding the notion that the iPad and music apps are just toys. There's no logic to that at all…none.

    Can you imagine a hardware synth being released in this day and age without MIDI? No. Why is it any different with apps?

  65. No offense, but I feel like developer guy up top is still missing the point. As the existence if this post (and near 100) comments suggest, midi is important. This post would exist to whine about lfo’s arpegiators, etc. We need midi to integrate your thing the way we want to into out studio.

    Eventually ut will be standard. And these days will be looked back at with a laugh. Will your app be one if the past? Or a studio used tool?

    P.s. I think wireless Is the future. I’m amazed stereo Bluetooth wasn’t integrated into the iOS universe sooner and ble it for the lack of cultural shift. Wires seem old fashioned to me. For audio in general. The pad future should be wireless. Totally. Midi over air should be fine in the studio. The last thing I want is cords hanging out the elegant pad thingy at BOTH ends

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