Apple Watch Already Has a DJ App and a Guitar Tuner and Amp Controller

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 …


This Record Sleeve Turns Into a Wireless Touch DJ Controller: DJ Qbert and Novalia

As the CD jewel box and compact cassette case and digital download have failed to inspire, the record sleeve has endured. Now, the LP album jacket isn’t just besting those formats in the physical realm. It’s proving it can outdo them in the age of digital and mobile, too. Digital controls can be printed directly onto the surface of the packaging, via simple conductive technology, then interface with machines over wireless connections. DJ Qbert went to fans early last year to crowd-fund the release of EXTRATERRESTRIA – to the tune of six-figures. The project was all-ecompassing: “preorder” funders would put …


Cool Tricks Wireless MIDI Can Do Now, on Mac, iPad, and iPhone

I love wires. You might even say I dream of them. But it’s time to stop thinking of MIDI as being a wire. MIDI has always been transport independent; that is, it’s a protocol that can run over anything. Apple has been doing more than anyone lately to exploit that potential, building wireless MIDI capabilities into iOS and (with the upcoming Yosemite) OS X. Now, here’s where wireless starts to look appealing – when you go mobile. Bluetooth is now capable of more reliable, low-latency, easy-to-configure setup than before, which means you might want to wipe your brain of your …


From Bluetooth MIDI to Easier, Faster Graphics, New Goodies for Creative Apple Development

Watching new operating systems is always a potent mix of “what new treats will we get?” and “what are they going to break?” Fortunately in this case, it seems Apple is mostly crossing items off users’ and developers’ wish lists on both iOS and OS X, though further details will come in coming developer sessions. Now, those are under NDA, but the wait for public information is unlikely to be long, now that Apple has announced a public beta of OS X Yosemite and an aggressive release schedule for both OS X and iOS 8. We also know a lot …


A Big Ass MIDI Cube with Hakan Lidbo, Live at MIDI Hack Stockholm [Video, Code]

It’s a big-ass MIDI cube. Okay, sometimes the name kind of sums up all of it. But among various wonders at MIDI Hack Day here in Stockholm this weekend, “developer/designer/entrepreneur” Per-Olov Jernberg has teamed up with artist HÃ¥kan Lidbo to bring a giant, inflatable green cube into the offices of Spotify and transform is into a musical instrument. This is what I would have at my birthday parties if I could go back in time. Or, really, now. And you can, too, because code in Processing is already available. Good, clean fun – with oversized musical instruments, a recent fascination …


mi.1 Wireless MIDI: Will Cost US$45, Ships September; Crowd Funding Now

mi.1 : Wireless MIDI Interface from QUICCO SOUND on Vimeo. The wireless MIDI adapter we saw yesterday is now a crowd-funded campaign on IndieGogo. And we know more about it, too: the MIDI-powered device should ship in September at a price of US$45. (Funding backers will get their unit for as little as $35; other funding levels offer t-shirts, extra units, and even a party in Japan. European shipping is $5.) As various developers have pointed out, wireless MIDI over Bluetooth – not to be confused with audio streams, which use a different spec – can get real-world latencies below …


Get Ready for Wireless MIDI: Low-Energy Bluetooth Hardware is Coming

Bluetooth has changed. You know the old Bluetooth experience. Assuming you got the device connected in the first place – already a bit of a challenge – you could look forward to dropped connectivity, slow transfers and high latency, and dead batteries. But that was years ago; Bluetooth has evolved. New devices are easy to connect, consume very little power, and perform reliably. And that means there’s no reason that a Bluetooth connection couldn’t replace a cable when it comes to MIDI. Given that mobile devices are slim and light, it means finally using gadgets like the iPad the way …


Five Musical Tech April Fools’ Jokes We Almost Wish Were Real

Like the proverbial Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day, it seems that music tech writers this year saw their shadow and decided to stay in their hole rather than deal with the yearly deluge of fake news that arrives on April Fools’. That’s a shame. Because this year, a few ideas are preposterous enough that we wish they weren’t jokes. (Turning that fool into something real was something I proposed last year, too – and just heard we might see some fruits out of that. Stay tuned.) Emerson, Fake, and Palmer. Moog Music has a tradition of jests on the holiday, …


A Guitar Amp That Doubles as Home Speaker System: AMPLIFi, with Bluetooth and iOS Integration

Line 6 made a name for themselves by making amps that used digital models to change their sound. AMPLIFi is their latest notion in amps. Instead of just being something guitarists would use in the studio and stage, for the first time it’s an amp system you might want to bring into the home. AMPLIFi is an amp, first and foremost. And like other Line 6 products, it uses digital models to change tones and effects. But while it can be loud like a traditional guitar amp (in 75- or 150-Watt versions), inside is a full-spectrum, five-speaker system. That means …


Mood Ring: Put on an iRing, Wave Your Hands in front of iPhone, iPad for 3D Control [$25]

Talk to the hand, iPhone. Wave-your-hands 3D motion has seen various dedicated accessories – most recently, in the Hot Hand USB wireless and Leap Motion. Even Steinberg are in on the act. But this is definitely a new take. IK Multimedia have a plastic “iRing” you wear on your finger that gives you control of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The system uses the internal, front-facing camera on your iOS device to track the position of your hand. The dots on the rings are a marker that the camera follows through space. There are actually markers on both sides, …