Nice concept from Synthtopia. It made me think that I’d love to see the OP-1 from Teenage engineering have some kind of iPhone integration then that’d be brilliant.

I have to say I’m a bit surprised that we haven’t seen more hardware emerge for the iPhone. I thought we might see some keybpards and the like.

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6 comments

  1. I have been dreaming of something like this. I love some of the sounds I'm pulling off of my iPhone (miniSynth) but really, the touch screen is not the most intuitive/expressive of musical instruments.

  2. The USB model sounds the best idea, so long as Apple can sort out a driver loading system that manufacturers can use.

    I'd absolutely love to be able to get live midi data into my iPod and have it control noise.io, iSyn, NLog etc.

    Mind you from a devs point of view it must be nice to have a standard set of controls (i.e. touch screen) that you can guarantee will be on all devices.

    I'd certainly buy a nano-sized keyboard if they worked with the iPod.

  3. To the best of my knowledge the new External Accessory framework that is part of iPhone OS 3.0 doesn't provide support for legacy devices such as class-compliant USB MIDI controllers and keyboards.

    As it stands today unmodified USB or Bluetooth class-compliant keyboard controllers would not be recognized by the iPhone as legitimate devices and the iPhone would not be able to match up the keyboard device with any apps.

    There are a few possible solutions:

    MIDI keyboard makers implement support for an iPhone External Accessory Protocol in their devices and get “Made for iPod” and “Works with iPhone” certification (i.e. Apple licensing), and then publicly publish and promote the protocol for apps to use.

    Or Apple needs to provide a mechanism to allow 3rd parties to add specific or generic device drivers to the iPhone OS. File a bug or feature request with Apple if you want to see this.

    Another possible alternative would be for a hardware developer to create a breakout box that connects to the iPhone dock connector using the iPhone External Accessory protocol and provides a USB interface on the breakout box to generic class-compliant MIDI devices. Such a box could maybe also provide audio I/O capabilities. It seems like there's a business opportunity for some enterprising company.

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