Percussa micro super signal processor

With talk of tablets, experimentation with interfaces, new developments in low-cost and low-power processing, and ongoing challenges with access in different parts of the world, in 2010, it seems everyone is asking fundamental questions about what digital platforms and computing platforms should be.

There are few contexts to better explore that question than music. Sure, it may seem to the casual onlooker that music is just a niche for specialists, but it pushes hardware to the limits of performance tolerances, tests latencies lower than that used for mission-critical military applications, and has long been a venue in which innovations in technology and interaction arrive first. Little wonder: digital music touches the most fundamental form of human expression.

Having framed the discussion in such lofty terms, the actual work with a digital platform comes down to the details: what works, what doesn’t, what’s possible, and what isn’t. So this week is the perfect time to evaluate some of those nitty-gritty, mundane specifics. I’ll be looking this week at the early indicators on Apple’s iPad, prior to its launch this weekend, as well as the larger picture with tablets and slates, touch, and new low-power, low-cost architectures that power them. But I’ll also revisit the current state of Windows 7, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and current releases of Linux, including some tips for making them work.

And as always on this site, those questions aren’t an arrival; they’re … a jumping-off point. But I think you’ll find some resources that help you get to the actual music-making bit.

Got specific questions about these platforms, or particular platforms you’d like to see covered? Shout out in comments.