When I first saw the iPhone at Apple’s keynote in 2007, my first thought was, this could be an interesting controller: big, pretty display, accelerometer sensors, and multi-touch input. It’s not without some problems (namely, small amounts of latency, the lack of tactile feedback inherent to touchscreens, and the size of your fingers reducing accuracy). But with refurb iPod Touch devices going for US$200 and the flexibility of having an interactive, handheld display, it remains an intriguing possibility.

Nonnus’s new iTM MidiLab (released by Silicon Studios) is a suite of MIDI controller apps. It’s free, with a planned future commercial version. It only works with networked Mac OS X 10.5 computers, so Windows and Tiger users are left out for now (because of the client app required).

Unfortunately, the app itself is held up by contract and distribution issues which seem to be plaguing many iPhone/iPod Touch developers; see a separate article on things mobile Apple developers are unhappy about. But in the meantime, Nonnus sends some details. Updated: Nonnus also notes that latency reports from users have been very positive.

See also the project site:

iTouchMidi (the original project name, rejected by Apple)

And discussion on the Ableton forum:


Nonnus sends along some additional details in a rough/informal email, with images, to CDM:

iTouchMidi is a suite off apps for iphone and ipod touch that allow them to be used as midi controllers

it requires a small app running on the machine where you pretend to use the midi
(currenly osx 10.5 only, soon 10.4 (really requested !!)  and in near future i hope to have an wintel version available as well)

iTouchMidi has been in beta testing by different users across the globe for about 2 weeks now, as i have not received much complains so far so it has to be going pretty smooth
also received the info from a beta tester that next saturday he is planning to ue iTouchMidi for the first time in a live perfirmance !

currently iTouchMidi has 4 different apps:

iTM MidiLab
this is the original app, currently featuring all the user interfaces (chosen at startup)
MidiLab is intended to become our showroom / beta platform
a free app (forever) where new users can test an existing an established ui from one of our available commercial apps and also some new one we may be implementing / testing at that time for new products
we feel it is a new approach regarding iphone apps

iTM Matrix
this is a button matrix implementation,
especially suited for ableton live clip triggering featuring midi feedback (showing wich clips are playing)
it can also be used for triggering samples or any other midi ontrol
currenlty there is 4*4 or 8*8 config, sending note on off
soon to be implemented,:
user configurable labels, colors,  matrix size, midi config(channel, notes) and different pages

iTM Keys
a standard midi keyboad,
ranging: c-2 -> c8 with pitch bend,

soon to be implemented :
swipe play, modulation and cc bend, midi config(channel, program change)


a trackpad sending ccs on the x and y axis for effects control
featuring spring switches (spring to center, spring to zero)
soon to be implemented,:

user configurable midi config(channel, ccs) and different pages
all guis are a bit raw as i intended some real world users to give real usage feedback bfr compromising

some of the new implementations i am working on already have bit more polished uis but still not definitive

i have also been developing 3 new iTM apps i can inform you beforehand:
iTM MCU, a mcu for the iphone ipod touch
iTM Tilt, like XYPad but using accelerometers like wii
iTM DJ, for control of digital dj applications like traktor, dekadance, etc

We hope the logjam over at Apple clears up and you can use this soon. Stay tuned.

Other controllers for iPhone/iPod Touch:

Luminar, DMX controller

Control Music and Visuals with iPhone/iPod, Free Via Pd

Tutorial: More iPhone/iPod Touch Control With Open-Source Pure Data

Create Digital Motion iPhone tag

And for Nintendo DS:

DSMIDIWiFi Free Download: Turn Your Nintendo DS into a Wireless Synth and Controller (Now Available!)

Hacked MIDI Support for Nintendo DS: DSerial

And Palm:

AxisPad: Turn Your Palm PDA Into an X/Y Music Pad

  • josh

    this is cool, no doubt. even if it never works out as a fully workable instrument, but more as an awesome remote control for apps n such. but 2 questions: 1) does it transmit midi over wifi? or if not, what? 2) WHY is there no equivalent apps for windows Pocket PC's?? we windows users are creative troglodytes, more concerned about business presentations than anything creative, right? not. sheesh! there has GOT to be some interest in this sort of stuff for non Apple folks. there are somethings i spose – like Griff/Meteor, syntrax, for audio. but what bout the DMX thinger i saw over at CDMotion? or just some straight up MIDI control like this here thing?

    maybe its just more underground. or maybe its hard to program stuffs for windows mobile.

    or maybe i should stop whining and just do it my damn self! = )

  • Altho I love CDM in general, I must admit, for the past few weeks I've been checking back even more often in the hopes that something like this is posted.

    Very glad to hear this is in development.

    I hope it's possible to switch between the various midi features without exiting the application. It would be a shame to have a stand alone app for XY pad, a stand alone app for buttons, etc.

  • poorsod

    Put simply, this is the reason I bought an iTouch.

    Really looking forward to when this and a matching Windows (argh!) client app are released.

  • Vanceg

    I'm working on an application for the Lemur controller that will enable it to make phone calls…provided you purchase a 2 year contract.

    (yes, that was an attempt at a joke)

  • Corticyte

    Who else finds all this iPhone stuff really boring? It may have a multi-touch screen but its tiny, and its still primarily a phone, not a computer. Just my opinion anyway…

    Please let me know when Apple make a lightweight, portable multi-touch iMac (mouse, keyboard and midi controllers not required)

  • amoeba

    i used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home, they're not much bigger than a meter.

    i mean, the XY pad shown here looks about the same size as the trackpads etc i'm using now for XY fun. man, this is what i have been waiting for.

    damn, now i gotta get a damn iphone. damn.

  • cubestar

    I think the MPC-like program looks awesome, but I do have to concur that these devices are too small for my taste.

    Maybe Apple will make a touch-tablet for not too much soon…

    PS – Will the current gen iPod Touch run homebrew stuffs?

  • poorsod


    If by "homebrew stuffs" you mean applications from the App Store, then you have to buy the 2.0 software update for that to work.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » iTouchMIDI, Free Wireless MIDI for iPhone and touch, Now in Store()

  • quotaholic

    project web site has no working links. Nice example of flash but none of the links work in safari. it just seems funny that an amazing app came from the makers of this site but this site does not work on an apple. Hmmm.

  • Kalpesh

    How to use iTouchMidi Dj