The iPhone’s glass touchscreen may be a thing of beauty, but despite its multi-touch capabilities, it would seem this device is incapable of responding to how hard you tap it. But the developers at Wave Machines Labs apparently didn’t want to take no for an answer.

The iGOG drum suite for iPhone provides drum pads and sample triggering in unique ways, most notably in its velocity-sensitive VelAUcity. How do you get velocity response from a device that’s supposedly not pressure-sensitive? Presumably there’s additional data in the touch events that makes this possible, but for now Wave Labs aren’t saying:

iGOG’s proprietary VelAUcity technology does the unthinkable and turns the iPhone’s screen into touch sensitive drum pads. Play loud, play soft, or play a full-blown crescendo on a crash cymbal, iGOG will capture every nuance of your performance. Just plug in your headphones and start playing.

Here’s the interesting twist: generally, when any of us say “iPhone,” what we really mean is “iPhone or iPod touch.” That’s not true in this case: “NOTE: VelAUcity is only available on iPhone devices. if you’re using an iPod Touch, VelAUcity is disabled.” That seems to suggest that the trick is the built-in mic, or at the very least some private API that’s iPhone-specific. (Audio triggering is most likely, as this app comes from a developer with drum replacement experience.) That would also suggest to me that you might be able to pull this off with non-Apple mobile devices and controllers in the future.

As a result, though, I can’t test it – I have only the iPod touch.

Unconvinced or uninterested? iGOG has some other approaches to how the small Apple handheld can be made more useful as a set of pads:

  • Multi-positional pads that assign articulation based on location
  • A mic trigger mode — which may be more useful than the VelAUcity. This mode assigns any nearby sound (like rapping a table) as a trigger. (That’s possible, of course, with a variety of software, but having the device itself be portable could be handy, so to speak.)
  • Multi-samples, file management, and sequencing for doing more with the samples.
  • No, real multi-sampling — 384 multisamples per drum!

Even if you’re skeptical of yet another iPhone app, I think there are some great ideas here for music software (mobile and otherwise). Here’s a look at the mic trigger mode in action:

Oh yes, and speaking of all this audio triggering, the same developer makes the superb Drumagog drum replacing plug-in. With pricing at US$199-379, you have to be pretty serious about drum replacement, but I know people who are who swear by it. There’s really nothing stopping you from whipping up your own solution, but Drumagog has a lot of niceties that make the process easier, quicker, and more powerful.

If you are a Drumagog user, you can bring those files into iGOG. That makes this app all the more interesting – it can be both a fun toy for someone new to the idea, and a companion to a more serious (and more expensive tool).

More on iGOG: