You’ll recall I predicated music app developers would try to do something with Apple Watch. (That was a relatively easy prediction, like suggesting that warmer months with longer periods of sunlight would follow the colder, snowier bits occurring in winter.)
Well, the Apple Watch isn’t even out yet, and we’re already seeing a couple of apps – one for guitarists with a particular Bluetooth amp/speaker, and one for DJs.
Since we first looked at Apple Watch, it’s become clear that the device isn’t in fact an iPhone on your wrist. Apple has chosen lightweight interactions – stuff to glance at and quickly respond – rather than the full-functioning computer in your pocket that is the phone. That’s obviously necessary to making the thing make any sense on your wrist, and to avoid it demolishing battery life.
I have no idea whether musicians will start buying Apple Watches. But if nothing else, the appearance of apps for this device do give us some indication of how developers will think about other kinds of computing interactions in the future.
The first two apps spotlighted by Apple – and there are sure to be more – Each acts as a remote control for other apps. And interestingly, neither is a remote for the iPhone per se.
AMPLIFi from Line 6 is already a really cool product: it’s a Bluetooth wireless speaker combined with a guitar amp. It has the convenience of a lot of consumer products we’ve seen lately, but it’s built for musicians in a way those things aren’t. (Think sound quality and power – 75 watts or 150 watts.) You can read our coverage from last year. You can control AMPLIFi from iOS or Android apps.
Now, Line 6 is adding support for Apple Watch. AMPLIFi Remote is simpler on the wrist than on phones and tablets, but it gives you quick controls for switching amp models and using the guitar tuner function, each with visual feedback. That obviously makes a lot of sense for an instrumentalist, as it allows you to keep your hands free.
I’ll be asking Line 6 more about their plans here. For one thing, I believe that even though you can leave your iPhone in your pocket or plugged in somewhere in range, I’m believe you may need both an iPhone and and Apple Watch to use the remote app with your speaker.
Pacemaker DJ is a remote control for the iPad app Pacemaker – demonstrating that iPad, and not just iPhone, integration could be something we see evolve. That’s relevant, given so much of the mobile production scene is really on tablets rather than phones.
Pacemaker DJ isn’t so much a serious DJ app as it is a great party solution – especially if you like having seamless mixes rather than iTunes skipping from one track to another. It works with Pacemaker’s Autopilot feature, so the app keeps mixing and cross-fading in time, while you can choose or skip tracks.
In other words, this is now the best solution for your next barbecue or perhaps those times when you skip out to the dressing room toilet or can’t find anyone to bring you a beer?
(Thanks to digitaldjtips for spotting this one – great site, in fact!)
I really don’t expect the Apple Watch to get widespread use. On the other hand, being able to wear a transport control or punch controls on your wrist could be nifty. Reason to buy a watch? Absolutely not. But for the few early adopters who do buy them, I’m sure they’ll find some apps.
And for frequent travelers and gigging musicians, I could imagine some of the other productivity apps could come in handy. See Apple’s full lineup:
I’m not terribly interested in owning one, but I’ll be watching (ahem) just to see what people do with interaction design. And I expect at some music developer or another, I’ve just justified your expense account for the thing. Here, you can cut this out and print it:
Dear Boss at Music Instrument Product Developer,
Yes, little [Johnny/Sally/your name here] urgently needs an Apple Watch, and Peter from CDM says you should totally spend the money on one. Untold future riches will surely be yours, and you absolutely don’t want to get beaten to the market by the bozos over at [Rival Music Instrument Product Maker here].
Also, on Friday, he/she will be sick. I’m not a doctor, but – yeah, just trust me.
Peter of House Kirn, First of His Name, Editor-in-Chief, King of the Nerds and the First Geeks, Lord of the Dork Kingdoms, and Protector of CDM.