It was five years ago today. Back then, apart from a handful of Lemur users, no one would have thought of sliding their fingers along glass to work with live music.

How times have changed. Today, touchAble has turned five years old. And it’s still the deepest, most complete touch controller for Ableton Live (or any other desktop software, for that matter). And you see it everywhere, accordingly. It’s a staple of studios, and also frequently spotted in high-profile gigs.

To celebrate, the developers are releasing a small but significant 3.1 release, and a really big sale.

In version 3.1, a bunch of little details for the users:

  • The keyboard has a modulation wheel.
  • You can vary the font size.
  • New follow modes have been added.
  • 13 new templates in the optional Live Device Template Pack cover Max for Live devices.
  • Compatible with the coming LaunchSync 2 by Isotonik, which syncs up various grid controllers as you move them around.

– plus fixes / performance improvements.

And there’s a special sale.

On iPad, the app is just US$4.99 for the next couple of hours, then $12.99 through midnight the 25th of October.

Or, take 50% off the iPhone Mini version, the Bundle of both, and the in-app purchase of the Live Device Template Pack.

Now, momentous as this is, we can also wonder what’s next. Is the fact that touchAble is so darned good reason enough to think Ableton will stay out of the game? Will the way control works change in future versions of Live? (We know Ableton is holding a bit even (“Loop”) here in Berlin at the end of the month, though Ableton hasn’t said whether or not that will include any product news.) Also, with Microsoft’s Surface line finally looking sexy, you have to wonder if native touch support in software like Live will come, or whether we’ll see a version of touchAble on Windows. (I’d be happy with even the latter scenario.)

I’ll leave you to speculate on that. In the meantime, touchAble is an exceptional tool – and with the steady flow of new iPad models, picking up a fast, bright lower-end or used model means the iPad is a pretty insanely good buy for control.