It’s beginning to look a lot like Kraftwerk. December 1, you should be able to look forward to a simulated Stylophone app for iPhone and iPod touch. The Stylophone, for those of you unfamiliar with this classic, was a wonderful late-60s invention and a high-water mark for electronic instrument simplicity. Run a stylus across a simple metal keyboard, get sound. It’s a no-brainer to bring this to Apple mobiles, with their touch and sonic capabilities. And while the Stylophone was used on many, many songs, I anticipate quite a few “Pocket Calculator” covers showing up on YouTube in the days after release. Now we just need a good effects program on the platform, and you can have one person playing Stylophone while someone adjusts effects on their machine.

Lots more pictures here, and yes, they’re pulling out all the stops, with classic, bass, and treble versions:

iStylophone 2008 Gallery

Incidentally, the Stylophone itself has returned in a remaked form. (You can also buy used originals, which some people prefer – link originally swapped; thanks, Michael Moncur, for the catch.) I’m curious if anyone has used the remakes? I have to admit, fun as the iPhone idea is, I wouldn’t mind holding a replica of the actual object.

  • The remakes are quite good, although not as fat as the older ones its fun to play with the extra sounds.

    I always thought stylophones suck on touch screens because there was too much latency to really jam on them. Its ironical that the iphone touch is kinda similar technology!

  • ps pocket calc was done on a beegees rhythm machine.

    The pop reference you are looking for is the David Bowie and Space oddity. Ripping stylophone solos!

  • @peter: Actually, I believe they used both on that track, unless I'm mistaken. (It may be a live vs. album difference … anyone know?)

    If they did indeed use both, they easily trump the rest of us for use of mobile devices, way back when I was in preschool. 😉

  • I picked up a stylophone for about £12 when they first reissued them. The sounds aint bad and it's fun for messing around with although it hasn't really got much circuit bending capacity

  • velocipede

    I just want a keyboard-type app that will record, sequence and export MIDI.

  • The site you linked to sells ORIGINAL stylophones, reconditioned, not the remakes. The remakes, ironically, are here at

  • 🙁 I've been developing an Stylophone application all last month myself, only to get pipped at the post at the last minute! Damn…

  • I'll only mentioned the other day (in my comment about RjDj) that I'd like to see a Stylophone for the iPod Touch, and hey presto! Here it is… can't wait to hear what it sounds like. I bought one of the new generation Stylophones a few months ago, and I'm convinced it doesn't sound as good as the originals. Why it's got an "audio in" socket, I'll never know.

  • That audio-in socket is somewhat confusingly labeled mp3 in the manual, it's to play your walkman out through the Stylophone's (ahem) audiophile quality speaker.

  • I have one of the remakes. Never having had the original, I can at least say that the remakes are great fun, and just a little on the glitchy side. A nice companion for a DS Lite. 🙂

  • @Lmd64: Well, you have until November to make yours different. 🙂 Network collaboration, perhaps? Or you could make yours into a Bee Gees Rhythm Machine!

  • Lsd25

    When I saw em live back in the day Pocket Calculator was a big crowd pleaser. They would come out from behind the big star trek style control area and play the song. Rolf had a small Honner keyboard, Floren had the Stylephone and the drummers one played a drum sensor that looked like a transistor radio and the other played the Texas Instruments Calculator.

    They were at the edge of the stage and the crowd went into a robot frenzy.

    There is a video live from Utreck on you tube of that tour.

    Most of the rhythm track is not coming from the one drum and the album sounds different than the show.

  • @Peter I'm going to be spending a lot of late nights plugging away at the code and interface over the next few weeks… by the way, see you at the DEAF'08 chat with the guys from FAW on the 25th!

  • If you had a new Stylophone and an iStylophone, you could plug your iPod Touch output into the audio in of the Stylophone! Probably sound horrible, but never mind!

    Just thought – can you have 2 apps running at the same time on an iPod Touch? You could play your iStylophone and jam along to MooCow's band app or iDrum!

  • @mistrust: Unfortunately not, no, only one app can be loaded at any given time on the iPhone, they've made almost no exceptions to this (apart from SMS, call and other fundamental background process notifications, which aren't available via the SDK anyway…)

  • I bought one of the remakes. Fun little box. One of the neat things you can do is to run the headphone jack of a Kaossilator into the MP3 input ;>) Sort of a "meet your new big brother" kind of effect, use the Kaossilator to make pattern goodness, then solo over it with the Stylophone. Hifi/lofi all together. It can be fun to turn on the Stylophone and make obnoxious low electrical buzzing noises too.

  • Venera

    Ohh shh everyone. Who cares, really?