Make no mistake about it: M-Audio's new iControl is custom-tailored to
GarageBand. From the fake-wood sides (very cute, M-Audio) to the knob
and button layout, this box is perhaps the first economy control
surface to be designed entirely around a single program's interface.
(Meaning, regardless of the discussion MusicThing says they've been hearing, there's absolutely no reason you'd want to use this with Cubase or Logic.)

Full details on what it can do and whether it's for you after the jump (read more).

Let's take a look at what it can do:

  • Dual interfaces: USB for driver-free connections to your Mac, plus MIDI for connecting a keyboard
  • Transport controls: Mimic the layout of the rec/play transports on GarageBand, down to the 'loop' button.
  • Big honkin' jog wheel: Biggest hardware feature of the iControl, a large jog wheel for moving the whole song forward and backward.
  • Master volume: The one and only fader on the iControl
    (everything else is knobs) is unfortunately not a DJ cross-fader. It's
    GB's master volume control.
  • Track controls: Rec/mute/solo parameters plus a volume knob, and a select key for editing parameters
  • Track parameters: Here's where it gets interesting. With
    custom buttons just for GarageBand, the iControl can edit effects and
    other parameters for tracks. Hit select on a track, then use the
    parameter buttons to make other changes. That's a feature that hasn't
    previously been avaliable at this price point, and it's possible
    because of tight integration with a single app.
  • Totally automatic: No drivers, no setup. Everything should work this way.

Our friends at Samplepoolz broke the story in German, but after reading through the site I notice Gearjunkies has the info in English with a price of EUR 141.99.

Should you get it? If you're a GarageBand junkie or running an
educational lab, this thing could be fantastic. But most CDM readers
will want to look elsewhere, for a device that can also be used with
other software. iControl looks to be compatible only with GarageBand
and, even if you could get it to work with other software, wouldn't be
nearly as useful with other programs.

The initial CDM Un-researched Knee-Jerk Reaction Review(TM) goes something like this:

GOOD M-Audio: Intuitive layout. Big jog wheel. Full editing. Cheap.
BAD M-Audio: Knobs saved space (and price, too), but I like faders. Not useful with other apps.

The rumor mill will love this: GarageBand automatically
recognizes the iControl in version 2.01, which means Apple worked with
M-Audio on this device. So, if you've been following the Asteroid
rumor, this should give you new fodder. That's not nearly as
interesting to me, though, as the uncanny similarity to a mockup posted earlier.

Conspiracy theories aside, this looks like a great box — if you're a
GarageBand devotee. Now, can someone please create the ultimate
interface for Ableton Live?