So you might be a little surprised to see Android in my list of mobile music moments. It’s only fair to say that Android hasn’t really delivered to the same scale as iOS. That would be true of course. However, it still has a place in the mobile music world. If I look back to pre-iOS days then we had two mobile operating systems. Palm OS and window mobile. Ok, back then neither had a huge range of apps available but they were both good in their own ways and gave you different ways of making music.
With iOS being so strong and so dominant I’d hoped that android would give the iOS world some competition. This has never transpired sadly. It’s been promised. There’s been a lot of talk about how android’s latency issues are going to be fixed but they’ve never been really addressed. It’s a shame but I’m not sure that those issues ever will.
Android was going to be a real choice a real alternative but I’m sad to say that it’s always been a very poor relation or perhaps a distant cousin. Maybe I’m stretching that analogy too far. Whilst there are 1,000’s of music apps for iOS there are only maybe 100’s for Android. It’s a shame. I’d like it to be different and I have a string of android devices to show that I’ve tried.
Perhaps one day this will change, but until then Android is always something of an afterthought.
You really couldn’t have a series of significant moments in mobile music without having Audiobus in there right? Well here it is.
Audiobus was a long time coming. I remember being with michael Tyson in London where he gave a talk and demonstration of Audiobus working, months before it saw the light of day. It was another moment that changed the way we thought about mobile music. It did connect the unconnected at last. Since then it’s only got better and better even though the Audiobus team have faced challenge from apple’s own IAA and now audio units and hosts. Through all of that they’ve weathered the storm and stayed firmly right at the centre of the mobile music community albeit the iOS community.
I’m looking forward to whatever they have for us next. I’m hoping that it is just as ground breaking as the very first version was.
I’ve known Matt for some time now and I still remember when NanoStudio came out. I think we were all blown away by that. Here’s how Matt remembers PalmSounds:
“In 2009 I gave up my day job and decided to try and make an audio app for this thing which hadn’t around long called an iPhone, which was like this amazing miniature pocket computer that also did phone calls. Shortly after starting development I discovered Palm Sounds, which not only was a blog about music making software but a blog about music making software on mobile devices. This seemed so niche that I recall being surprised that it even existed, until I remembered you can find any old weirdos on the internet if you look hard enough. It was still fairly early days for iOS – no MIDI connectivity and iPad was (is) just a silly word, but there was at least the iPod Touch which didn’t pester you or its own battery with the annoying phone call bit. I learnt from Ashley’s site that you couldn’t be considered a true pioneer of musical road-warrioring unless your weapon of choice back in the day was Bhajis Loops running on a late model Palm OS device. I felt suitably humbled at being so late to the party.
Times moved on, and with the scene changing rapidly I think it was around 2012 that Ashley publicly announced he was going to close down Palm Sounds. I had every sympathy. I’d had my own first experience of running a forum for the last couple of years, and although it was fun most of the time, it could also take its toll. It can take a lot of time and energy and Ashley was doing this alongside his day job and family just for the fun of it, which was no mean feat. Impressively, Ashley then had a rethink about what he really wanted, went back on his announcement, re-invented the format and here we are today – respect!
I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting up with Ashley a couple of times. Turns out he’s a nice bloke with a genuine interest, who’d have thought! Congratulations on 10 years fella!”
Thanks Matt! NanoStudio is still the go to app of choice for many of us on iOS. Long may it remain that way!
Let me start this moment with a statement that I am (currently) not a modular synth guy. That may surprise some of you but I’ve resisted that temptation so far. Although it isn’t easy. However, I’m very interested in ideas around modularity and I’m not just talking about modular synths. So when the first modular synth arrived on iOS I was really interested. I didn’t hurt that it looked amazing too. The design was really appealing. I know that for a lot of people Jasuto didn’t make sense at first but when you’re u gave it a little time it was pretty easy to get into. Also it wasn’t modular in terms of its look and feel and by that I mean that it didn’t try to look like a physical modular synth. I think that was a major plus point for Jasuto too. In fact, in my view its design was and still is a stroke of genius.
I started using Jasuto when it first landed. It was a main stay of my iPhone 3G and after that on my ipad first generation. Which in fact I’ve still got around somewhere. Apps like Jasuto showed just how innovative the developer community could get. It was a real signal for people to do things differently and I think it made users realise just how powerful the platform was. Let’s not forget that this was even before Apple decided to call the os iOS.
Moments like Jasuto show us that our devices are capable of a lot more than we thought. They make us realise that this tiny computers give us the ability to go to places that were unavailable only a few years ago.
I still like Jasuto. I still use it and find it useful. I’d like to hope that it isn’t abandoned. I’d like to think that there’s another massive version in the offing. I live in hope!
Another very kind contribution to the PalmSounds 10th birthday celebration:
“I really appreciate Ashley’s ongoing work with PalmSounds. As a lover of iOS music apps, PalmSounds has been a great resource for telling me what’s coming up. And as a developer, I’ve benefitted greatly from PalmSounds spreading the word on my projects. Here’s to 10 more years!”
If you don’t know Coffeeshopped’s apps, they include Monovista, Patch Base, Sysex Base, and CZ Touch.
I’ve been a long time fan of what Marcus has been doing, so getting this was wonderful.
“In 2010, I realized that there was a thing called Mobile Music. It happened when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to the world and someone played some notes on the screen using one of the first music apps. I wanted to learn more about it and found PalmSounds. And the blog was talking about music on mobile devices looong before the iPad! I went crazy about it and started to read PalmSounds every day, bought my iPad, hundreds of apps and created the MusicApps.com.br blog, the first to talk about Mobile Music in Brazil.
I also started a YouTube channel with some videos about music apps and I remember that I became really happy when I saw one of my videos posted on Palm Sounds for the first time.
One day, In the very beginning of my blog, I was really depressed about it. I felt like nobody was reading what I was writing (and I was writing a lot!). Almost no comments at all. I talked to Ashley on Facebook about it and he said something like “Don’t give up. You think nobody is reading, but it’s not true. Time will pass and visitors will grow. Just keep your great work!”. I decided to listen to his advice and wonderful things happened latter. And I had the chance to thank Ashley in person when I was in London in 2013.
Happy birthday and thank you, Palm Sounds!”
And meeting Marcus back in 2013 was just great. One day I hope I’ll be able to visit him too.
To say that the ipad has changed mobile music would be an understatement. If the iPhone was profound the ipad was and is bigger. I think that the ipad has taken the world of mobile music even further if that was possible. In some ways I like to think of it like this. The iPhone showed us what was possible what you could do on a mobile device, and then the ipad showed us that it could be done better and in an even more professional way.
I can remember when the ipad first arrived, there was such a buzz. I can recall that people were desperate for stories about even the most banal unboxing. Every day new apps either went universal or brought out a specific ipad version. Developers were trying and refining new ideas all the time. It was very exciting as it goes.
Of course things have slowed down a lot since those heady days. But the ipad is still the go to device for a lot of people. I know that for a lot of people the ipad is what mobile music is all about. I can understand that, it makes a lot of sense actually even if it isn’t exactly the same for me. Even though I’m actually writing this on my ipad. I think that the ipad has done a tremendous amount for bringing people into music making and showing just what you can do with a tablet device. I remember when the Gorillaz made their album with ipad apps. It was a revelation to a lot of people and paved the way for a lot of other artists to do similar projects. No of course it isn’t unusual to see an ipad on stage at a gig. It doesn’t really make news any more. We’ve become mainstream in many ways and that was because of the ipad in my view.
So the ipad is a very significant moment in mobile music and many would argue with me that it is possibly the most important so far. Maybe. Maybe I’d agree with the so far part anyway.
So this was always going to be a moment. PalmSounds was already well established way before the iPhone arrived but when it did it did change everything. That’s only fair to say. However, even though it did change everything and has had a massive global impact it was actually a shaky start back then.
If you remember correctly the iPhone first arrived with no native apps whatsoever. Perhaps it sounded like a great idea back then but it did managed to upset a lot of people. Web apps weren’t really what we wanted. We wanted a fully integrated ecosystem for apps that we’d never really had with palm or windows mobile. But the iPhone didn’t deliver on day one. But the people spoke and eventually Apple listened. We got apps. We got the App Store and in many ways the nature of the ecosystem hasn’t really altered since those first days. There’s been tweaks and minor changes but not much more.
The main categories for the App Store are the same ones we had when we started. The changes we’ve had have been to iTunes to iBooks and haven’t really changed much. The nature of how the App Store ecosystem works hasn’t changed in years. But I digress.
The iPhone was massive. I’ve had four so far and I can see myself getting another honestly. At times I’ve considered the Android alternative but so far that hasn’t happened. Although never say never right.
Getting back on topic though the iPhone has had a profound impact on the world of mobile music and I expect it will continue to do so.
The bigger question is what happens next? That’s a question for another day though …
It was lovely to get a comment from a great company like IK. I’ve been a fan of their apps and their hardware for iOS for many years. Here’s what they said:
“Congratulations! You’ve believed in mobile music making from the very beginning and it’s certainly already fundamentally changed the way many of us make music. You can be proud of being one of the pioneers.”