Here’s another addition to our iPhone / iPod touch round-up: the author of the beautiful, minimal iPhoneSynth has created a drum machine inspired by Roland’s classic TR-909. Basic features, but it could be fun to hash out a drum pattern for your next tune on the subway:

IR-909 is a drum machine for the iPhone inspired by the Roland TR-909. IR-909 features a 16-step sequencer, 4 patterns, 8 different drum sounds and the ability to adjust tempo(BPM) and shuffle amount.

iPhone Applications at

It’s interesting: I heard some complaints in comments on our previous round-up that the applications were basically toys. To me, there’s a certain appeal to having something simple and elegant to toy around with musically, whether on an iPhone or other mobile gadget (Nintendo DS, Palm) — and that’s long been the draw. Of course, we know what you want to be able to do with your iPhone, as exemplified in this fake mock-up by our friend Tricil.

Before you get excited, it’s fake! It’s not real! He admits it’s fake! (Nice fakery, in fact, Tricil!) But it does raise an interesting question. For now, Apple’s APIs are largely incomplete on iPhone in the way that would be necessary to support something like Live. But mobile devices in general are moving fast, and I don’t think it’s that far out of the question. The question is, would you actually want something far simpler than Live in your pocket — or perhaps you’d want to do what mobile users have been doing, using sophisticated trackers for music arrangement that are better suited to mobile hardware.

And, likewise, it’s very possible that tools like the iPhone, iPod touch, or others could work as effective remote controls for full-blown music apps. See our previous story on an upcoming, commercial multi-touch controller app for iPhone/iPod touch and Pro Tools:

Control Pro Tools with an iPhone or iPod Touch

As for your mobile Linux nuts, I say bring it on. (Hey, if I saw a nice enough gadget, I might try to code that one myself…)

  • fansoftricil

    i wanna have tricil's babies!!!!

  • robman84

    IR-909 is nice. What I would pay for is a clone of Rebirth RB-338…

    Griff on PPC is a useful tool too – maybe they could port that to ipod/iphone?

  • What would be awesome would be wave-editing/looping – pinch and squeeze seems like a natural for this.

  • > Apple’s APIs are largely incomplete on iPhone in the way that would be necessary to support something like Live.

    I'm curious where you heard that. There are lots of limitations in the iPhone APIs, but the audio APIs are actually rather extensive and complete. There are no limitations that I've come across that would specifically prevent an application with some basic capabilities of a Live-like program. There's is, however, no way that Live could be ported to the iPhone. The device is extremely resource constrained with very severe limits to memory and processing bandwidth that any such app would come up against very quickly. As a result of these resource constraints desktop apps like Live are completely inappropriate to put into the context of a device like the iPhone. Such desktop apps are also fundamentally not designed to work the way users interact with a device like the iPhone.

    I've seen some very sophisticated audio applications on PocketPC (eg Griff) and Palm (eg Bhajis Loops) and they invariably fail because they are trying to recreate a desktop DAW or sequencer on a tiny device.

  • Keith

    This idea that a 'toy' cannot be a valid musical instrument is bogus.

    It's just 'novel' at this stage. All new instruments are 'novel'.

    The challenge I see is with realtime input, due to the latency involved in the touch screen. Perhaps the accelerometers could help in this regard.

    A 'tracker' or similar seems perfectly suited to sitting on a bus and twiddling for 30mins. Although the interface would need to be completely re-thought to take advantage of the multi-touch, and supplement for the small screen, and stubby fingers. And after all, the world has just learned how a piano roll style sequencer works via Guitar Hero.. perhaps this could be leveraged.

    I'm not sure exactly how much power you can squeeze out of an ARM processor, but FX, synthesis and audio tweaking would be great too. Its set of features make it a much more 'compositional' tool in my mind than a 'performance' tool.

  • I overstated above that Bhajis Loops and Griff are failures. They are not. They both perform admirably at what they were designed to do. But you only need to try them to observe large flaws in their approaches to portable music making.

  • Thomas

    How many iPhone articles do you have to post? You have now gotten to the bottom of the barrel and are posting fake ones.

    It must be driving more traffic here, since I can't see posting plainly fake articles useful.

  • @Thomas: Ten, including the iPhone's launch, three of which were entirely focused on criticism of the device, out of over 2500 stories on CDM.

    (Hey, took about 10 seconds to pull up my stats. So now I know.)

    What happens is, these things come in waves because we tend to get more posts after we do a story.


  • WiFone


    So I can run Audiorealism Drum Machine. Or D16's Drumazon. (Or Nepheton. Or SonicCharge's MicroTonic. Or whatever…

    No we don't need a fullblown DAW, a couple of groovebox AU's with inbuilt sequencers and/or fx will do just fine, thank you. We have 633 mHz CPU's clocked down to ~400, which should be way more than enough to run a beat and a bassline.

    So any devs out there, WHERE IS MY .AU HOST?

  • {-_-}

    Represent tricil!!!

  • mojo

    tricil is so damn cool!!

  • Audio Units are supported on the iPhone, but, of course, it's a different CPU and OS. So any AU would have to be recompiled and reworked for the iPhone UI kit.

    Also the iPhone SDK developer agreement doesn't allow applications to host plugins. So for now you'd have to go off the reservation and use the Jailbreak/Open Tool Chain SDK development route.

  • WiFone

    Some porting (recompiling for darwin-arm) will of course be necessary but I don't see why that should be any issue at all. The difference between Cocoa and Cocoa Touch (i.e. mouse / keyboard vs. multi-touch screen / accelerometer) could also be taken care of in a AU host, so that every AU dev need not do so. Just like in regular desktop nvironment, not every AU dev has to implement mouse / keyboard functionality but can rely on the host and underlying platform to take care of connections to other elements in the system.

    As regards jailbreaking, to anybody with a little bit of common sense, it is self-evident. Didn't you read Wired's list of 2007 btop gadgets? It's MY phone, err, computer, so of course I decide what may or may not run, not Apple. And of course it's a prerequisite to unlocking, if you want to use the phone capabilities without paying monopoly rents, or use them at all in so-called 'unsupported countries' (like where I live). Chickening out because of your warranty? Just restore to plain vanilla Apple shitware in 3 minutes max.

    The 'official' iPhone SDK sucks, if you didn't notice yet. And you'd have to wade thru Apple's desinformation and outright lies to use it. The 'underground' toolchain is so much more extensive and developed. And even then, who says we're restricted to OSX? It's just a matter of time before we can run Linux on our iPhones.

    The AppStore will probably suck big time too. An exclusive retail channel for software where Apple takes 30% of whatever your turnover is? Screw them. If Apple takes this route it violates many, many laws (consumer protection, competition, intellectual property abuse, etc.) which are a lot tougher than their silly SDK agreement which only applies to the suckers that sign up for it anyway.

    So let me repeat:


    And Tricil: you're so NOT cool dude… there are toddlers making more funny and/or more useful stuff than you. It just shows again how Apple is soooo not the multi-media genius platform that the fanbois like to think it is.

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  • Peter wrote:

    As for your mobile Linux nuts, I say bring it on. (Hey, if I saw a nice enough gadget, I might try to code that one myself…)

    I don't love this device, but you'd better explain whats not so great about it or getting coding …

  • Sorry, Paul, the sentiment intended there was not that what's out there isn't great … just that I'd like to see more mobile device choices. Everything I've seen suggests a deluge in the coming months.

    Of course, whatever mass-market devices may be out there, absolutely there's a place for an audio device. The Trinity isn't quite a sweet spot for me personally — I'd rather go smaller / cheaper / more lightweight, or else have something a little more like a laptop — but it could be a sweet spot for someone else.

    And the issues with mobile development certainly exaggerate the situation with desktops in terms of proprietary platforms for development and vendor lock-in. I think there are lots of practical reasons why things like the Apple SDK would turn off developers.

  • gbsr

    what im curious is: how convenient is this really?

    you either need really really small fingers, or something like the stylus pen for the ds in order to be able to launch a clip properly, not to mention tweak something, no?

    diy interfaces, thats where its at.

  • WiFone wrote:

    "And Tricil: you’re so NOT cool dude… there are toddlers making more funny and/or more useful stuff than you. It just shows again how Apple is soooo not the multi-media genius platform that the fanbois like to think it is."

    Duly noted.

    Next time you're in Atlanta, why don't you come to the official Ableton Live Users Group I run so we can meet?

  • Emil

    Ever since I saw Ableton live in the first place, I have been dreaming of having it in a mobile device, and yes maybe there are platform issues of fitting pc apps into a smaller thing. But as a remote it would be handsome, you might even be able to connect your home pc from your phone and control the apppliction from a distance and the only thing your mobile does is to transfere signals to the pc and recieve the sound back again, come on! this is the future!?

  • N-Newbie

    No defending Tricil

  • No Defending TRICIL. nice big head picture, disableton users untie.

    fun article, dunno about the hate, guess someone slipped in a puddle of fael.

  • {-_-}

    hahaha, ya whats up with the WiFone? Disableton 4life!!!!

  • N-Newbie

    Can the iPhone do supersaw? I need maximum saws for my wii remote euro circuit bent techno controlled by monome & tenori-on because music with real instruments played by musicians is so last millenium.

  • whats an instrument and where can i torrent one from? subasore ftw.

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