When I first saw the iPhone at Apple’s keynote in 2007, my first thought was, this could be an interesting controller: big, pretty display, accelerometer sensors, and multi-touch input. It’s not without some problems (namely, small amounts of latency, the lack of tactile feedback inherent to touchscreens, and the size of your fingers reducing accuracy). But with refurb iPod Touch devices going for US$200 and the flexibility of having an interactive, handheld display, it remains an intriguing possibility.

Nonnus’s new iTM MidiLab (released by Silicon Studios) is a suite of MIDI controller apps. It’s free, with a planned future commercial version. It only works with networked Mac OS X 10.5 computers, so Windows and Tiger users are left out for now (because of the client app required).

Unfortunately, the app itself is held up by contract and distribution issues which seem to be plaguing many iPhone/iPod Touch developers; see a separate article on things mobile Apple developers are unhappy about. But in the meantime, Nonnus sends some details. Updated: Nonnus also notes that latency reports from users have been very positive.

See also the project site:

iTouchMidi (the original project name, rejected by Apple)

And discussion on the Ableton forum:


Nonnus sends along some additional details in a rough/informal email, with images, to CDM:

iTouchMidi is a suite off apps for iphone and ipod touch that allow them to be used as midi controllers

it requires a small app running on the machine where you pretend to use the midi
(currenly osx 10.5 only, soon 10.4 (really requested !!)  and in near future i hope to have an wintel version available as well)

iTouchMidi has been in beta testing by different users across the globe for about 2 weeks now, as i have not received much complains so far so it has to be going pretty smooth
also received the info from a beta tester that next saturday he is planning to ue iTouchMidi for the first time in a live perfirmance !

currently iTouchMidi has 4 different apps:

iTM MidiLab
this is the original app, currently featuring all the user interfaces (chosen at startup)
MidiLab is intended to become our showroom / beta platform
a free app (forever) where new users can test an existing an established ui from one of our available commercial apps and also some new one we may be implementing / testing at that time for new products
we feel it is a new approach regarding iphone apps

iTM Matrix
this is a button matrix implementation,
especially suited for ableton live clip triggering featuring midi feedback (showing wich clips are playing)
it can also be used for triggering samples or any other midi ontrol
currenlty there is 4*4 or 8*8 config, sending note on off
soon to be implemented,:
user configurable labels, colors,  matrix size, midi config(channel, notes) and different pages

iTM Keys
a standard midi keyboad,
ranging: c-2 -> c8 with pitch bend,

soon to be implemented :
swipe play, modulation and cc bend, midi config(channel, program change)


a trackpad sending ccs on the x and y axis for effects control
featuring spring switches (spring to center, spring to zero)
soon to be implemented,:

user configurable midi config(channel, ccs) and different pages
all guis are a bit raw as i intended some real world users to give real usage feedback bfr compromising

some of the new implementations i am working on already have bit more polished uis but still not definitive

i have also been developing 3 new iTM apps i can inform you beforehand:
iTM MCU, a mcu for the iphone ipod touch
iTM Tilt, like XYPad but using accelerometers like wii
iTM DJ, for control of digital dj applications like traktor, dekadance, etc

We hope the logjam over at Apple clears up and you can use this soon. Stay tuned.

Other controllers for iPhone/iPod Touch:

Luminar, DMX controller

Control Music and Visuals with iPhone/iPod, Free Via Pd

Tutorial: More iPhone/iPod Touch Control With Open-Source Pure Data

Create Digital Motion iPhone tag

And for Nintendo DS:

DSMIDIWiFi Free Download: Turn Your Nintendo DS into a Wireless Synth and Controller (Now Available!)

Hacked MIDI Support for Nintendo DS: DSerial

And Palm:

AxisPad: Turn Your Palm PDA Into an X/Y Music Pad