Image-Line has long promised it’d never make a version of its popular FL Studio – aka Fruity Loops – for Mac desktops. Blame the Windows-centered development tools in which this cult-hit all-in-one production studio is built. But it has found its way to a fruit-themed platform of a different sort, with FL Studio Mobile for iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

Leaked specs and early screenshots have surfaced (apparently unintentionally). That means anything said here could change as the app is developed. (Thanks to readers who tipped us off, though it seems I-L didn’t intend to make this public!)

The app looks cool, but it’s largely FL Studio in name only. You get something like 90 preset instruments (only the attack envelopes are editable), a step sequencer, and pad triggers. There’s also very nice MIDI support, both for Core MIDI and the MIDI Mobilizer, meaning this will work with various MIDI accessories both for the iPhone specifically and more generally with MIDI input. Image-Line also claims they’ve balanced battery life with low latency.

All in all, it looks like a decent on-the-go sketchpad for quick ideas, but hardly a big departure from other apps we’ve seen on mobile. In fact, while it promises the ability to open your projects back in FL on the desktop, you don’t even need to be an FL user – MIDI file export is available, too.

I see some FL Studio users, loyal to a non-Apple desktop OS, are already unhappy that this isn’t on Android. But my real disappointment here is that I don’t see anything beyond the superficial look of the step sequencer that makes this look like FL to me. I would’ve liked some of the quirky personality of the original on handheld. It’s a useful-looking tool, but put that name on there, and some people may come away feeling like they’ve got artificial fruit – only 5% real juice.

Some days, your personal Quality knob is cranked up to High; some days, it’s set to low. Know what I mean? I think mine today is set to economy, but…

I like things like this – you never know when an idea will pop into your head that you want to get down. (And the app, now via updated screenshots, looks really nice and clean and touch-friendly.) But it does serve as a reminder that the $500 spent on a tablet could also go to a pretty amazing laptop that’s more than capable of all the depth and power of the real FL Studio.

Official specs on the app from I-L The specs we got from Image-Line’s public site are apparently “placeholder” specs, so not entirely complete or accurate. From comments: “To clarify, that spec page was actually just a placeholder with the specs of Xewton Music Studio. FL Studio Mobile, which is being created by the same developer, will have different sample content, amongst other changes.” But they look as though they’re at least in the ballpark, so here they are:

Save projects and load in FL Studio personal computer edition.
Photorealistic dynamically configurable 85-key keyboard
Instant positioning via the slide gesture and resize with the pinch gesture
90 studio-recorded instruments (16bit 44.1kHz sampled from real instruments)
40 free instruments, 50 available in the in-app shop
4 categories: classic, band, electronic, world
Release and attack time configurable per instrument
Sustain samples • Pitch bend via accelerometer
Low-latency, highly optimized, high-polyphony, battery saving audio engine
100 beats (drum loops)
5 real-time effects with lots of parameters
3 high-quality reverb algorithms, delay, 3-band equalizer, amplifier, filter
128-track sequencer • Beat & metronome settings (tempo, signature)
Per-track mute, solo, effect bus, pan and volume adjustment
Edit whole tracks or bars, down to individual notes:
Draw, quantize, transpose, repeat, move, length, velocity, etc.
MIDI import and export
Save and load your songs and export to wave
Wi-Fi and iTunes file transfer with your Mac/PC
Songs and MIDI files can be opened directly from Safari and Mail
Unlimited undo and redo
Detailed in-app help
Play or record 2 different instruments at the same time with 2 keyboard rows
Key labels (Cs only, all keys, all keys colored)
iPhone 4 Retina Display supported
Compatible with: Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer, Akai SynthStation 25, CoreMIDI