In-app editing, at last. Without switching to your Mac or PC, you can now edit or create layouts right on Lemur. Images courtesy Liine.

Once the layout is done, using an iPad as an interactive, do-anything-you-want, Star Trek-style music and visual controller is a unique pleasure. But as your fingers surf through virtual knobs and faders, the idea has surely occurred to you: why can’t I actually do my editing and layout on the iPad?

Lemur is perhaps the most powerful controller app anywhere, a terrific demonstration of why a tablet controller can be useful. And its editor – directly descended from the editor that went with the original, pre-iPad Lemur hardware – is powerful, unquestionably. But switching between an editor on the desktop and the layout on the tablet definitely feels less intuitive.

A Lemur update at last brings what users have wanted: now you can directly edit those layouts on the iPad (and iPhone/iPod touch), ideal for “improvising” layouts and adjusting to what feels best on the controller. See the video for a first look. (One bonus, very interesting to a few of us: this also means, since you’re no longer tethered to the editor, you can more easily use Lemur as a controller with your Linux rig, whether that’s a laptop or a Raspberry Pi.)

It should be available on iTunes now. (Some country stores don’t get all updates immediately, so keep an eye out.)

That’s not all Lemur developers Liine are announcing today. Lemur also adds three new “skins” for a bit more control over how your layouts look. And coming early next year, there will also be a free layout for Ableton Live from one of the best creators of this stuff, ST8. (I would expect this is tailored a bit to some of the subtle but significant controller changes in Live 9.)

The new Lemur – in-app editing, new skins, and still the mobile controller app to beat.

Entirely tailored to iOS interface paradigms, in-app editing does everything you need to customize control layouts, says Liine. Here’s how they describe the use cases for the functionality:

So what does editing templates directly In-App mean?
For novice users, this means a much smaller learning curve and an immediate initial experience. Any basic configuration, such as a typical bank of faders, can now be created with a few familiar taps and gestures. And any factory template can be adjusted quickly to suit your particular needs.
For advanced users, the In-App Editor provides the possibility to quickly edit templates without breaking the musical flow. Whether you’re playing with live musicians or engineering a track in the studio, designing and using the Lemur controller becomes improvisatory. Need to add an extra fader for the reverb effect? Two seconds and you’ve got it.

We don’t know a whole lot about LiveControl 2.0, but knowing how powerful some of this stuff has been in the past – and knowing ST8 was involved – I expect hard-core Live users who love touch will be intrigued. (It’ll be interesting to stack this up against Ableton’s own Push, which should become available in roughly the same timeframe – how you might choose one over another, or even use the two together.) What we have from Liine on what’s coming:

Experience the ultimate Ableton Live controller, designed in partnership with master designer ST8. Improvise a riff on the Play page, then switch to the Sequencer page to edit the pattern. Choose a key and scale to guide your melodies and use Quick Chord to instantly create harmonies. Use the Modulate page to flawlessly map any parameter from any plugin to the MultiBall object and take advantage of Physics, LFOs and gesture recording. The Launch page gives you everything you would expect from a clip launcher, and more. We even integrated snapshots and morphing. LiveControl 2 will be a free download available in early 2013.

Let’s have a look at the new releases in images:

The New Lemur

Some people may still prefer doing initial editing on the desktop app, but it’s hard to imagine anyone will complain about at last being able to make adjustments on mobile. And if you do want to start from scratch, you can do that, too. The new Lemur app, editing away.

You have complete access to widgets and parameters. And, as you can see, by using iOS-native UI components, Lemur makes sure those editing tasks are fat-finger-friendly.

LiveControl 2.0

A new Ableton Live controller template will be available as a free download early in 2013, says Liine.

Info on the updates: