Apple is quietly perfecting the technology for large touchscreen iMacs, with the hope of ‘revolutionizing’ desktop computing, according to technology law analysts Patently Apple.
And images from recent Apple patent filings, like the one above, reveal that the company clearly has music applications in mind for its ‘iMac touch‘. The image shows what appears to be wireframe outlines of touchscreen compressor controls that would offer visual feedback on their current state.
Touchscreen computing is cool, but bringing it to the desktop (and laptops) is not as simple as tacking a touchscreen on a desktop OS or making a giant iPad. There are unique usability challenged posed by both the physical constraints of desktop computing and the types of work many users do on desktop computers.
So, while an app like Garageband on the iPad may be a useful tool for mobile music making, users would have different expectations for working with an app like Logic Pro. Apple’s recent patent filings show that the company is working on addressing these challenges, and doing it specifically with music making in mind.
There are many companies that are already exploring the area of multitouch computing.
Smithson Martin, for example, has done some very interesting work applying this technology to DJing and, more recently, general music making. Here’s an overview of their multi-touch Emulator technology from the 2012 NAMM Show:
It’s not much of a leap to imagine how a more generalized solution might be very useful for musicians. For example, you could have a two monitor setup, with a multi-touch tablet screen paired with a larger standard display. The tablet interface could be used for things like virtual mixing desks and software synthesizers. It could also be used for creating unique new approaches to music making, as has happened already on the iPad.
What do you think of the idea of incorporating touchscreens into digital audio workstations? Are you interested in a multitouch DAW?