Open Music App Collaboration 2.0 – The Future Of iOS DAWs?

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A little over two months ago, we covered developer Rolf Wöhrman’s Open Music App Collaboration Manifesto, a call to iOS music developers to push ahead with inter-app collaboration features.

Since then, many developers have worked together to add collaboration support for their iOS music apps, making not only the individual apps more powerful, but the iOS music platform, too.

This week, Wöhrman published an update to the Open Music App Collaboration Manifesto, calling on developers to push application collaboration even further. Or, as Wöhrman describes it, “what iOS DAWs need to do to have fun with synth apps via virtual Core MIDI.” You can see many of his ideas demonstrated in the video above, which demonstrates NLogSynth Pro working with FL Studio HD.

Here is what Wöhrman has outlined – his take on the future of iOS DAWs:

Open Music App Collaboration 2.0

MUST HAVE FEATURES:

1. Implement a MIDI Out option for your instrument tracks
2. Provide a way to mute or at least silence your own virtual
instrument
3. Provide a Core MIDI control panel to activate MIDI Out
4. Dynamically update when new Core MIDI devices found
5. Provide a way to map different tracks sending MIDI Out to different
MIDI devices either by MIDI channel selection or MIDI device
assignment per track
6. Send MIDI Note Off messages when your DAW transport stops
7. Implement background audio for your DAW that it keeps running in
background when switching to the synth apps

GOING FURTHER AND BECOME BEST OF CLASS:

8. Implement a pure MIDI track type (instead of silence your own
instruments, saves CPU)
9. Send MIDI transport messages Start, Stop & Continue
10. Send MIDI Song Position Pointer messages
11. Have an option to send MIDI clock messages for sync’ed devices
12. Send MIDI Vol & Pan CCs when user operates Vol & Pan controls in
your UI
13. Implement further automation which can be mapped to MIDI CCs and
send to the synth apps for filter sweeps etc.
14. Have a little MIDI Program select panel per track, save setting in
your project file and send it to the synth apps

BE INNOVATIVE AND DO THE INTERSTELLAR iOS DAW:

15. Implement automatic audio copy & paste for track freezing and
final audio mix down.

The increased focus on collaboration between iOS music app developers is rapidly eliminating many of the downsides to iOS as a music platform.

Check out the ideas outlined above. What do you think of Wöhrman’s take on the future of iOS DAW’s?


32 thoughts on “Open Music App Collaboration 2.0 – The Future Of iOS DAWs?

  1. I like where this is headed. The value of my iPad and iConnectMIDI combination continues to increase.

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  2. This might help to initially overcome the limitation of not having a real plug-in capability in iOS. Still as the hardware will get more and more powerful, Apple will have to permit that kind of technology to be added.
    Still I think this whole endeavour is absolutely great news! Makes it all a lot more useful!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  3. “as the hardware will get more and more powerful, Apple will have to permit that kind of technology to be added.”

    I wish, but I doubt it will happen. The ipad is not a computer, its a console/information appliance, like the Nintendo DS. Apple doesn’t want to open up its system to anyone, and they don’t want to support any standards on their console.

    The ipad2 is more powerful than the Pentium3 computer I used with Reason and Cubase with plugins over 10 years ago, but the software limitations imposed by Apple makes it impossible to do on the ipad what I could do on my 10 years old computer.

    And then there’s this denying access to the filesystem thing that really hurts workflow…

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    • You sir, like Galileo, speak the truth, yet I feel, like Galileo, you will suffer the same fate.

      Some people just love Apple, and will accept anything Apple decides for them.

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      • And some people will prefer the cryptic user interfaces of open source OS’s, because they want to be able to edit the kernel of their operating system and redistribute it.

        But you haven’t connected the dots and explained why you think platform-war BS has anything to do with what Wöhrman is advocating.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 17
        • “cryptic user interfaces of open source OS”

          The filesystem is not cryptic. Do you have problems navigating inside your Documents folder? ;)

          btw, do you know that IOS is based on an open source OS called BSD/UNIX? Only it some of its basic function have been locked down. I think its a shame that Apple believes their users are too dumb to be able to handle a Documents folder, which is wrong, their users are more intelligent than that. How many times have I heard “How come you can’t create a folder on the desktop and put some documents in it on the ipad, isn’t it a computer?” ..

          well, it kinda is a computer, handled like a gaming console, which are computers too.

          I love my ipad for what it is, but I feel it could be so much more.

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          • Of course iOS and Mac OS leverage open source Unix work, that’s why they are so stable.

            But there’s a reason that iOS devices have been so successful, and it’s because Apple has had the clarity to prioritize the needs of typical users over the needs of technical users. This is also why tech geeks (myself included) struggled to understand the benefits of the iPhone and iPad initially.

            You still are not making any attempt to connect the dots and explain why you think the kneejerk platform war talk has any relevance to what Wöhrman’s advocating.

            What do you think about Wöhrman’s proposals and what they mean for the future of music on the iPad?

            Are you thinking that Apple’s design choices for the iPad make Wöhrman’s work a dead end or something? Or that there’s a better platform that we should be reconsidering?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
            • “You still are not making any attempt to connect the dots and explain why you think the kneejerk platform war talk has any relevance to what Wöhrman’s advocating. ”

              Slow down there,.. “platform war talk”.. there never was any “platform war talk” from me. I did not compared IOS to anybody else. I just said it would be really great if IOS could do those 2 things (filesystem, plugins).

              I think Wöhrman’s proposals are great, but in the end it still falls short compared to a true host. In the end with Wöhrman’s proposal IOS will need some kind of mixer, because its really nice to be able to connect all these apps together, but really annoying having to go inside each individual apps to lower the volume when needed.

              Its a step in the right direction, I just hope IOS and Apple follows. But some people here don’t want IOS to evolve anymore, they believe is already perfect as it is and cannot be made better, yet those same people are all in awe when IOS gets updated. I believe they are wrong, but it never was about platform wars.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
              • I’d agree that there’s lots of room for improvement.

                I’m ambivalent about the need for plugins and file system control on the iPad, though. I’m more interested in seeing apps that take advantage of the unique capabilities of wireless multitouch tablets, than seeing tablets try to do what laptops can already do quite well.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • Your ten year old computer could act as a wireless muti-touch MIDI/OSC controller?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 17
      • “Your ten year old computer could act as a wireless muti-touch MIDI/OSC controller?”

        Absolutely yes, it can. There are multitouch monitors for computers, also wireless lan cards, and MIDI/OSC software.

        It can do all that, and it can also run plugins and software not approved by the creator of its OS.

        Can your ipad run Reason or a recording host?

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        • There was no such thing as a multi-touch monitor ten years ago. 802.11 equipment cost a fortune until around 2002. Whether you like or not, the iPad can do things that were either impossible or cost thousands of dollars a decade ago.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13
          • You should look at this : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

            “The use of touchscreen technology to control electronic devices pre-dates multi-touch technology and the personal computer.”

            “In 1984, Bell Labs engineered a touch screen that could change images with more than one hand. In 1985, the University of Toronto group including Bill Buxton developed a multi-touch tablet that used capacitance rather than bulky camera-based optical sensing systems”

            … you should read it up, there’s plenty more info in there. Yes it used to cost a lot of money, just like modular Moog costs a lot of money too. In both case there were people using them.

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          • “There was no such thing as a multi-touch monitor ten years ago. ”

            yes there was, look it up on Wikipedia. They have a page for Multi-Touch.

            “cost thousands of dollars a decade ago”

            There always were some lucky people who could afford such things, much like wall sized Moog modular synths.

            “Whether you like or not”

            I never said I didn’t like it, you are putting words in my mouth that I didn’t say. I do like that these things are now more affordable than ever.

            The ipad is nice, and I believe it could be better with access to plugins and some kind of shared documents folder (which would be immensely useful for sharing a sample library to different apps).

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              • None? Then I must have read the wrong article on Wikipedia.

                “Multi-touch technology began in 1982, when the University of Toronto’s Input Research Group developed the first human-input multi-touch system.”

                “In 1984, Bell Labs engineered a touch screen that could change images with more than one hand. In 1985, the University of Toronto group including Bill Buxton developed a multi-touch tablet that used capacitance rather than bulky camera-based optical sensing systems.”

                “A breakthrough occurred in 1991, when Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch “Digital Desk”, which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.”

                “Various companies expanded upon these inventions in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The company Fingerworks developed various multi-touch technologies between 1999 and 2005″

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              • It’s not worth arguing with someone that doesn’t understand what they read. I’m not going to explain why Bell Labs and a published paper are different from commercially-available products.

                You have a point if you can name *one single brand and model* of a multi-touch monitor that was available in 2001. Good luck with that.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9
              • “It’s not worth arguing with someone that doesn’t understand what they read.”

                Just like its hard to argue with someone who denies the existence of things just because he has never seen or heard of them.

                “You have a point if you can name *one single brand and model* of a multi-touch monitor that was available in 2001. Good luck with that.”

                Jazzmutant in 2002, Fingerworks a little before that (its the company that Apple bought to produce screens for the iphone/ipad) but you probably won’t believe that either.

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    • well you’re probably right. But I think eventually the desktop/laptop computer will merge with the tablets (at least for consumer oriented computers), so will the mac and the ipad. At that point we will have to see if Apple will move to some sort of plugin format.
      Already there is signs for Apple planning on restricting software installations to the app store, which would mean no plugins on the mac as well… but I can’t imagine something like that to work for them.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
    • Some of those statements are a bit of a stretch.

      “Apple doesn’t want to open up its system to anyone” – except that anybody that wants to (and that’s capable of it) can create an app for the iPad.

      “they don’t want to support any standards on their console.” – but they support the MIDI standard very nicely, and as well or better than other tablets OS’s.

      The iPad is a computer as much as your PC, but it is one designed with the emphasis on reliability and ease of use rather than flexibility or capability. This emphasis makes a lot of sense for a lot of users, but not for everybody.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14
      • “except that anybody that wants to (and that’s capable of it) can create an app for the iPad”
        Well not totally true. First you must pay some money and sing some papers, then you must get past the Apple Approval Committee… It’s all but open.
        In fact I think Rolf Wöhrman’s endeavour is even more important since the closed nature of the iOS environment. Only if developers team up and and develop a common strategy some higher end functionality will become available on the platform. Apple does what brings them money, if they see that this functionality will bring them some income, they will probably accept it. If Rolf Wöhrman succeeds in showing them that what he’s planning is something people use and maybe attract new users, then this might push things forward.
        I have an iPhone since the 3G came out, and I often use it to make music. I would buy an iPad just to run a couple of music apps on it (like Animoog for instance), since I don’t find it very useful for anything else (having tried it several time, I must say that I still prefer a “real” computer to do web browsing, text editing, emailing and of course multitrack recording, audio editing, production and so on), the fact is that the cost of the hardware is a bit too high for me, if compared to what I would do with it.
        On the other hand, if a functionality like the one in the Open Music App Collaboration Manifesto becomes a standard, I might be a lot more interested in investing and surfing the web and reading what people say I think I’m not the only one.

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        • You confused creating an app for iOS with selling an app for iOS. You can create and load apps without selling them in the App Store.

          That said, I agree with just about everything else you said!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • “The ipad2 is more powerful than the Pentium3 computer I used with Reason and Cubase with plugins over 10 years ago, but the software limitations imposed by Apple makes it impossible to do on the ipad what I could do on my 10 years old computer.”

      Yes! But remember 10 years ago that Reason didn’t support plug-ins and barely integrated with Live using ReWire.

      That being said, there’s no reason why you couldn’t build a Reason-class piece of music software for iOS. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Apple provided better plumbing for ReWire-type functionality.

      I haven’t used Cubase since the Mac version was discontinued, but I dream of Logic for iOS. They’re already halfway there with GarageBand, so maybe it could happen!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. It’s fun to work with apple devices and there is a fine line here to consider (IMHO) we are,after all,playing in apples world. It is what we are CHOOSING to do. There may be some doors that open by crying loud and hoping apple will hear us but by choosing to play in apples house we are submitting to the rules of the house.

    Developers like Rolf are taking the “house rules” and pushing them to the very boundaries. This “innovation” in exhausting limits are what will eventually be what apple will look at and in turn,if apple feels so inclined,they will adopt these innovations and they will be assimilated into the future of iOS operating system. Crying over “old ways” and past (proven) technology means nothing to apple. The real way to make apple notice is to do what these developers are doing now. Show apple what can be done and then hope it will just happen. Until then we can either pay to play or go on our merry way. The great thing about technology is choice. I for one am glad I chose the path that led me to my iPad and music creation with it. Had it not been a viable solution for my own experience I’d like to think that my brain would have told me to move along. It’s undeniable that Apple has found something here with musicians. It’s going to ultimately be up to those musicians to do something with it. That my friend can be seen as powerful OPEN experimentation,regardless on how tight the door is sealed.

    This is just my own thoughts. I am a fan of music creation and ANYTHING that helps me express my music ideas. The easier the better. I’m not bitter. I’m not a fanboy. I just use logic……no pun intended. ; ) Have fun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
      • Touchscreen netbooks are fine, but those QWERTY keyboards just get in the way of my music-making, and most non-tablet music software isn’t optimized for multitouch.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  5. I used to work for a computer company over ten years ago which made Point of Sale touchscreens for Petrol stations the screen had a membrane over the CRT and an external box to control data this technology is not new , I own a Roland PMA 5 which came out in 1996 this was a portable midi music device with a touchscreen for input still use it now and again , also owned a libretto laptop which cost £800 which could run cubase and cakewalk the ipad makes the future now not tomorrow.

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