Apple’s devices have earned praise from developers for consistently supporting multiple fingers in predictable ways. But to go further with expression, one developer made use of the size of contact area on the screen.

Any time a developer goes beyond “public” or official APIs, there’s a chance Apple will eventually balk. We knew this was a risk to the excellent music app Orphion when we covered it, but hoped, in fact, that if the app were successful, Apple might reconsider.

Unfortunately, today we learn from developer Bastus Trump that Apple will remove the app. And that means, at the very least, you will want to take steps if you want to get this app on your device – or keep it there. Bastus tells CDM:

I’m writing you because Orphion is in serious trouble:

Apple just called me to nicely tell me I use a private API function to sense the area of the screen which is covered by the finger for its articulation gesture ([CDM] wrote about it). This is crazy – thousands of users love it for this and it makes Orphion so expressive.

The app will be removed from the App Store in two weeks if I don’t submit a new version without it – and I currently can’t think of Orphion without this gesture.

So what I can recommend is

1. Everyone who wants to have the “original” Orphion get it NOW from the app store (, it will be only be there for a few more days
2. Backup the current version to keep it. (Michael Tyson from Audiobus made this great tutorial)
3. Tell Apple to make this great function officially usable in apps (Any ideas how to do that?)

So far… let’s see if this is really the end of Orphion.

I find it a little extreme to discontinue the app without this gesture. But as for the API, Bastus tells us he thinks there is a case to make it public and official. And musicians would be the best people to give that feedback, as they use touch in more expressive ways than most users. Bastus adds:

“For the way I use it it’s absolutely reliable. It’s been in there for more than a year and thousands of users love it…”

I’m curious to hear from users and developers. Can you suggest a workaround? Can you make a case for why Apple would want to keep this app? Is this something you use?

Touch iOS Music in a New Way: Hands-on with Cantor for Users, Inside Details for Developers [some information on the original development concept and specifically this API]

Freehand Playable Circles, in Any Tuning, on iPad: New Orphion Editor [complete look at the newest version]