CDM on the iPad USB Audio


CDM picks up the story of USB audio and the iPad. Seems like this could be great, but I can’t help but wonder if Apple won’t step on this in some way.

14 comments

  1. According to Richard from Patternmusic:
    “Unlike the iPhone, there’s no analog audio in on the iPad dock connector. There’s only analog mic input from the headset jack.”
    I guess this explains why Blue Mikeys won't work on the iPad.

  2. “… I can't help but wonder if Apple won't step on this in some way.”

    Sadly, I have to agree. Until Apple explicitly supports 3rd party interfaces, there is no guarantee that the next OS update won't make them unusable.

    I experienced this with my Macally mic, which worked fine with my 1st gen touch on OS 2, but was made incompatible by OS3.

    In fact, it still works momentarily before a message comes up telling me that it is not supported, so I know Apple has intentionally blocked it! My guess is that Apple wants licensing fees from peripheral makers and/or they just did not want to worry about supporting them on first gen touches

  3. “Unlike the iPhone, there’s no analog audio in on the iPad dock connector. There’s only analog mic input from the headset jack.”

    That HURTS.

  4. Wow! If Richard is right this might be a dealbreaker for me. High quality stereo recording through my macally pro is awesome on my iPhone and I thought an ipad with 8 trak DAW would be a great step up. What a bummer!

  5. Whoa… “Apple” isn't to step on it, because they're the ones doing it. The message I link to there is one of the top engineers on the Core Audio team. And the reason this is all kosher is that, because they're building class support into the OS, you don't use *any* different API. You'd just use the public APIs for audio output and input, and instead of using the default mic/speaker or something connected via the proprietary Dock Connector protocol, audio would stream through your USB device.

    You'll lose some features, because they're not supported by the USB class – e.g., you don't get mixing controls, etc. likely provided by the interface. (That's part of why I'm using an Audio Kontrol 1 on Linux, because like all the NI USB boxes, it actually has native Linux kernel drivers rather than relying on the class.) But it should do the trick for 90% of what people want to do audio-wise. You just don't get other USB connectivity – like MIDI – for the same reason. No public API, no support.

  6. I think that as long as Apple does not explicitly say it support such devices you should expect them to stop working at any time. I wouldn't be the first time they go that route, so just don't get used to it working and then be surprised if it stops one day.

  7. This is a pretty high-level Core Audio guy. They're going to the trouble to ADD support. I know I've been hard on Apple for some of the things they've done, but even I wouldn't expect them to shut off a support avenue they themselves created. 😉

    That said, if you want hardware support, the iPad isn't what you want, period. (And I doubt anyone at Apple would differ on that; it wasn't their goal.) Look for better hardware support from Windows and Linux, and possibly – depending on how things evolve – even Android, if they hook into stuff the Linux kernel already gives them.

  8. Looking at the Apple developer's original email, it does sound like support is guaranteed, but I would still like to see it stated to the public by Apple.

    Why does my Macally mic no longer work with my first generation iPod touch since I upgraded it to OS 3? It actually works momentarily when I launch iDrum, for example, but then after using it once, I get an “unsupported message”. It's not a hardware problem, but a decision by Apple to disable it.

  9. “…but then after using it once, I get an “unsupported message”. It's not a hardware problem, but a decision by Apple to disable it.”

    I think it's less likely that Apple decided to disable that particular device, and more likely that a code change inadvertently omitted support for certain older devices. It's always a risk w/ 3rd-party hardware. I have an iHome alarm clock that lost certain functionality after an OS update.

  10. @peterkirn

    “but even I wouldn't expect them to shut off a support avenue they themselves created.”

    Ok, so what about Firewire? 😉

  11. Me:
    “…but then after using it once, I get an “unsupported message”. It's not a hardware problem, but a decision by Apple to disable it.”

    Icepulse:
    “I think it's less likely that Apple decided to disable that particular device, and more likely that a code change inadvertently omitted support for certain older devices. It's always a risk w/ 3rd-party hardware.”

    Surely, that is true for some devices, but my mic actually works for a few seconds before the message comes up and it stops working. I suppose it could be hitting a wall in the new OS, but it is suspicious.

    Anyway, it was never officially iPhone/touch-compatible, but it did just work under OS 2. Lesson learned: make sure both Apple and the 3rd party hardware have declared support and be prepared to have support ended with a future OS. Of course, this is nothing new.

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