Immediately following the announcement of the iOS 7 SDK, and Inter-app Audio, developers not attending WWDC begain to dive into the example code to see what it could do and what it would mean for music apps.
I've been hearing from several developers over the last couple of days and they're all very excited about what Apple is bringing to the platform. Although I have to post this all as "unnamed sources" due to Apple's tyrannical tact of secrecy, I want to stress that I am hearing the same sorts of things from multiple sources.
One theme I keep hearing the most is how much of an impact this will have on DAWs. In fact some are saying that inter-app audio is primarily focused on improving DAWs more than anything else. This is definitely something that has been hindering music apps, with various competing DAWs all coming close-but-not-quite to the mark of seamlessness we enjoy on computer platforms.
A major new feature to assist here is "sample accurate sync", which will provide a simple method for DAW apps to keep client apps recording in perfectly synced tracks. This is done in the same way that computer-base DAWs keep their plugins synced.
This theme of "doing it the way they do it in DAWs on PCs" is repeated, with one developer saying:
They try to do it as close as possible to the current DAW-plugin architecture, modify what's needed for iOS, but not more, and hopefully bring the rest like params, preset management later.- Anonymous Developer, that doesn't want to anger Apple
Indeed it seems that Apple's initial launch of Inter-app audio will not include control over parameters; as we were lead to believe by Apple's private blurb on the subject. However this is definitely in the plans!
No plugin parameter, preset selection or load/save support yet, but transport control and sample accurate sync.
Once the core of all of this is running, adding parameter & preset support should be very easy for Apple in iOS 7.x!- Yet Another Anonymous Developer, that lives in fear of Apple
Transport control, the ability to trigger start/stop/record, is definitely in the current version, but the implementation of it is one area that will keep Audiobus relevant in the near future. One developer felt that it would be impractical for many apps to try to include on screen controls that trigger these transport functions.
(On adding Inter-app audio specific transport controls to apps):
I mean not every developer will want to add an app picker and connection graph or whatever to their app. The ones that are input or filter apps don't really need it but apps like…. sampler, loopy or other apps that are located in the output don't really have any place in their UI for this.
Nor do all users need that. Then there's the limitation of triggers that apple provides. There's no connection panel and the only triggers that apple gives developers to use are transport related.
It's all very solid tech, but it's catering to DAW like apps, and it assumes you have a play/stop/record button in your input app that can trigger the DAW.- Apple Victim & App Developer, wow I am uncomfortable including this many anonymous sources.
As Audiobus provides a simple interface, with their slide-out connection panel, developers have been able to easily implement it in their apps; without having to change their interfaces at all to do things like trigger recordings. Another unique feature in development for Audiobus is hinted at in their official announcement yesterday, after spending some face time with Apple's Core Audio team.
We’re excited about the great work the Core Audio team have done on the new functionality, which has some terrific features that only a team at Apple with system-level access could achieve. It validates the work we’ve been doing with Audiobus, and will pave the way for some great user experiences to come.
While we can’t talk specifics, as we’re bound by Apple’s Non-Disclosure Agreement, we believe Audiobus is going to continue to be a valuable member of the community, bringing music apps and devices together. We've got big plans, and we look forward to sharing the results with you!- Audiobus Team, http://audiobus.tumblr.com/
Of all the developers I've talked to, it seems iOS 7's Inter-App audio is definitely not including Inter-Device audio. This is a feature that has been in Audiobus beta builds since last May, when I was able to stream audio from my iPad 2 to my iPad 3 over WiFi in Audiobus. That feature did not make it into the final release of Audiobus, but development has continued.
Since JACK does not provide an in-app connection panel for transport controls, and has not indicated any developments on Inter-Device streaming, they may have a harder time maintaining relevancy in iOS 7. I fear the beleaguered but lovable JACK may get the rug pulled out from under them, before they even got their feet under them.