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Happy New Year!

2012 was an excellent year for music technology on all platforms, but especially for music apps! This has been an exciting time for everyone and things are only going to get more interesting in 2013. Let's take a look at the past to see where the future might lead!

A Brief History of Music Apps

2008: Just 5 years ago if you were making mobile music, you were doing it on your phone or possibly a Nintendo DS. The offerings were slim, but the potential was there. In 2008 things started to get serious with the release of the original BeatMaker, a budding DAW for iOS.

2009: Fart apps were still the dominant noise maker on iOS in this dark era. Hope was on the horizon though with Thumbjam's release at the end of the year. This was a truly unique instrument and caught the attention of many musicians who were already carrying around iPhones.

2010: With the announcement of the iPad came immediate anticipation from musicians. The iPad was instantly celebrated by bloggers at Synthtopia and MATRIXSYNTH for the new possibilities it represented. Along with the iPad release came top-tier apps from Korg and Propellerhead. This year also saw the first signs of MIDI on iOS, a necessity for professional users. Apple even banned the fart apps.

2011: With both the iPad and MIDI available, developers brought us some amazing soft-synths at unbelievably low prices. $5 could net you either Sunrizer or Arctic Keys, both of which would have easily cost over $100 as VSTs. Now everyone took notice; the iPad was the most affordable way to make music. MIDI was now an expectation, and Virtual MIDI was becoming standardized. Beyond emulating vintage analog synthesizers, we began to see developers bring us entirely new ways to play in apps like TC-11.

2012: With the market saturated by classic emulations, developers realized they had to start innovating. There were some additional, and worthy, virtual analog synths like Magellan, but we also saw entirely new, complex, synths like Cassini. Experimental apps like Werkbench and BitWiz pushed creative boundaries. Others, like Samplr, explored traditional methods with new interface designs that took advantage of multi-touch in creative ways. Last year was capped with the release of Audiobus, an important step towards unifying our music making apps.

2013: There are 30 apps on iTunes now with Audiobus support, and the SDK is still only available on an invitational basis. When that is released into the wild the possibilities will be endless. Even apps that fall outside of the norm, or are even categorized as music apps, have contacted the Audiobus team with their interest. There is no way to predict what we will see this year, but it is a fair bet that Audiobus will be an important part of future development; in the same way that MIDI and the iPad itself was.

Let's start some rampant speculation! What do you hope to see in 2013?

Reader Comments 23

2013 will belong to Audiobus with compatible Auria as more complex app which will be enhanced with nice midi module, but as a complete amateur musician I' m looking foreward to further development of BeatMaker2 with Audiobus support of course and more deep sampling options (thank you for layers in 2012 Intua!) more promotional codes speaking of which also I hope to have a sex with my wife when even one intercourse will a whole 1 comparing to nowadays' 0 (zero) at least. God Bless IOS. Happy New Year to Tim and you All!!!

January 01, 2013  | person_outline Piotr

talking about looking forward to apps for 2013 in spring 2012 waldorf made this exciting news of a synthersizer called nwave ipad synth to be out in summer,by august my brother sent them a email asking any news,they replied october release,i sent them a email just before xmas & wishing them a happy new year & hint i hope to see nwave in app store very soon they replied so do we,i know you have been helping on audiobus & i assume you know rolf from nlog who is suppose to be helping waldorf with bringing this synth to ipad,so im really asking you do you know whats going on,it seems odd that only synthtopia has mentioned this synth on a wish list,,i get the feeling either you all know & have been told to keep it quiet for a big surprise when its suddenly in app store soon or its not happening or been put back with no idea when & changing subject im looking forward to new apps & someone tell itunes to bring back release date in app store,i refuse to load ios6 because i look forward seeing whats new in app store,happy new year andre uk

January 01, 2013  | person_outline andre

I'm really looking forward to Nwave also, and I'd love to see Korg come out with a Wavestation app, even though I kind of hate the apps they've released so far ( not the sound, just the design and lack of a clue when it comes to the kinds of things we want to see in our apps).

January 01, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

@Andre - Re: bringing back Release Date into App Store. I do miss that particular feature but I use a workaround. I search for the word "music" in the search box in the top right hand corner then use the "All results for music" suggestion as my search criteria. All apps tagged with the word "music" are then displayed as either iPad or iPhone apps. I then use the drop down menu that says Relevance and change that to Release Date. This workaround gives me the latest apps tagged with the word "music" but it is dependent on developers actually using the word "music" as part of their metadata. Try it. Also, search for say "samples" or "beats" or whatever as above and you get quite very interesting results for Release Date app information. Hope this helps.

January 01, 2013  | person_outline Med

I'm still hoping for better integration with hardware synths. I like what Roland did with their Jupiter-50/80/Integra-7 dedicated iPad editor. Radikal Technologies made an editor for their Accelerator keyboard synthesizers. I wish Moog created an iPad editor for the hidden functionality of the Minitaur in addition to their PC editor. I think Novation missed an opportunity on the Mininova. They could have designed the case to allow an iPad to rest on it and allowed connectivity over USB MIDI. You could then not only have a nicer onboard editor for the Mininova, but you could have the Mininova as your main controller for the iPad adding physical knobs. I think all hardware synths should have a running slot towards the back so you can mount multiple iPads on them or rest a single iPad wherever it's most ergonomic for you. They don't even need to add an editor or other dedicated integration for that matter.

As for the iPad, I'd love to see wireless CoreMIDI and I'd love to see hardware manufacturers support this.

January 01, 2013  | person_outline matrix

I just realized reading through this that my ipad has the whole history of music apps on it for display. Too bad it is pretty much an obsolete rectangle with rounded corners now. With the rate these apps are and will be developing i'm expecting a whole new wave of quality and abilities to come along and wipe out a lot of my current favorites (unfortunately/fortunately) either due to redundancy or storage space. Something has to give as my 32 gigs is filled up right now and i don't expect the apps to just stop coming. I have a whole bunch of music apps on here now (about 80) that have avoided the 2 second tap and hold, but really i only use 10-20 frequently.
Apps like Animoog, PPG, TC-11, Magellan, Addictive, iKaoss, iElectribe, iMS20, iPolysix, Figure, TNR-i, Samplr, iMaschine, wejaam, Glitchbreaks, Rebirth, DJplayer are all good combinations of fun and functionality that have stood the test of time (some longer obviously).
But there is still a lot of room for improvements both in design and features, so i'm looking forward to seeing how this foundation is built on. Audiobus should change quite a bit.

Happy new year.

January 01, 2013  | person_outline Anonymouse

@andre et al: No fear abut NWave. We all had hoped to have it done much earlier last year. But we put some great amount of love in it. Good things take sometime its time. Like a very good wine. And it's done when we all are happy. Still some amount of work. But no fear, it will come. And you will love it. Till then: Happy Synth!

PS: And no, we do not play marketing tactics here like denying its ready and then have a sudden release. IMHO, all this marketing circus is stupid anyway. We just have a few things to add and complete to have NWave ready.

January 01, 2013  | person_outline Rolf (TempoRubato)

looking forward to learning more about this...
...and seeing how it will affect app development, by the big brands and indie developers alike.

January 01, 2013  | person_outline a1

Sorry but first years had more than it looks like.


Noise.IO - it was one of the firts synths on ios, and not only he was 2 osc/multfilter/lfo/different effects, but it also had kaossilator-style xy, arpeggiator for melodic lines, and - IMPORTANT - you could attach any parametres to control anywhere u wanted - XY coordinates, accelerometer, virtual knobs and link between two touches. THAT FLEXIBILITY was ONLY REPLACED and IMPROVED by TC-11, ~3 years later!

BeatMaker - yeah, it was kinda "hi guys i have MPC500 in my pocket".

Yonac's MiniSynth - grandfather of beloved-now Magellan

SynthPond - was great ambient generative app, some musician used it live

FingerBassline - that tb303-app that is still useful now


Nlog Synth - this beast is as good now as it was back then and even better now

Jasuto - fully modular synth, years before Audulus. it's latest version still great though abandoned now. Anyway, freaking-modular-in-ur-pocket,
and it was much better than useless crap called reactable ios

bleep!box - great groovebox, and u love it, i know

Multitrack - it was another step forward

SunVox - ULTRAkiller!) tracker mixed with modular

iSequence - also honourable mention


NanoStudio - THAT APP made revolution of being "i can write the whole track on my ios now"!
At least u mentioned ThumbJam, ok.

anyway, i mean, ios music apps "ERA BEFORE AudioCopy/Paste and Audiobus" was stronger then this ur entry tells

January 01, 2013  | person_outline qmish

and "before midi"

but, anyway, u wrote good about how progress is going!

happy new music

January 01, 2013  | person_outline qmish

Here's hoping Auria gets Audiobus support as iOS needs a decent DAW to output to. Also here,s wishing for a decent audio I/O interface in 2013 for iOS as Tim has talked about recently, we need a dedicated module for ipad with decent connectivity, power and standalone options etc. Keep putting the groove down people.

January 01, 2013  | person_outline JumperCollins

It would hardly be a "Brief" history if I tried to list out all of the developments! I wanted to put out more of an outline of how things shaped up. I had originally included NanoStudio, because it was deeply significant, but removed it in editing to keep things brief(er).

I was surprised by the Nanostudio omission as well. Still think it's the best app on iOS for starting and actually finishing songs vs jamming/noodling. Perhaps not surprising then that I'm most looking forward to whatever 'secret project' it is that Matt @ Blip is cooking up now.

I'm looking forward to MIDI and Audiobus in Auria. I'm looking forward to whatever happens next with Samplr. I'm looking forward to whatever happens next with Audiobus (hint: I hope it involves midi because virtual midi is still a mess and those are the dudes to sort it out). Will be interesting to see if that make it through the year without being purchased by apple/auria/intua/steinberg. Audiobus belongs inside your DAW.

I'd love for 2013 to be the year of portable samples. Either everyone gets on the dropbox train or via some interapp cleverness. How great would it be to tap 'open in' inside of loopy and have all 12 loops show up as looped tracks in Auria or similar? Also hoping that MIDI program changes become the new black.

I'm not actually looking forward to any new apps. We're drowning in great apps! Hopefully MIDI and Audiobus in Auria (or NS2?) will help me actually finish things with all these little wonders.

Happy New Year to all.

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Will

Ok, Tim, sorry if being a bit harsh
Also we shall look into the future and not into the past...

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Qmish

And about my 2013 waits/hopes:

-improvement of apps like Borderland Granular (needs copypaste at least)
-more audiobus apps) and hope my 3rd pad still has some live for it
-drum machine from The Strange Agency (if it won't replace any of it's previous apps 0o)

Also I lost hope for Synthi A-app!

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Qmish

on second thought, there are a few apps I'm looking forward to. I'd like to see more recreations of synths I could never afford in meat space like the MS-20. I'd love to see a roland jupiter 8, an oberheim matrix 6/12 and something from the Prophet series.

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Will

- AudioBus everywhere
- Copy/Paste everywhere
- Virtual MIDI everywhere

No more 'island' apps - we need to be able to integrate all aps into an iOS workflow through these bridging technologies.

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Simon

2012 should also include Jamup XT and XT Pro. Before their "bug fix" update in late 2012, guitar and bass amp sims on iOS were just ok. After that update, I've put my "real" amps away and now Jamup XT and my iPhone 4S are my bass amp!!

Can't wait to see what's next!!

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Rip Topaz

Just two things:
- multiple "pipes" in audiobus (maybe this will require and iPad4 or superior) - that is different (input - effect - output) channels for different apps running
- multiple device audiobus connectivity - that is, having iPhone's and iPad's routing audio between iDevices


PS: nwave, more iKorg, new intuitive expressive innovative iPad synths/drums apps... and of course, ACP/audiobus everywhere...

January 02, 2013  | person_outline hoyas79

iPads in the Music Classroom 101 : Online course to learn music creation through ipad apps by an experienced instructor, having taught 5000+ teachers.

[Tim Edit: I changed the link text so he doesn't get any search off of it, but the link remains the same for anyone curious about what $200 worth of iPad Music lessons will buy you.]

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Sean

I'm pretty sure Sean just spammed here, but I'm going to let it slide because it is kind of funny.

At least I'm laughing... $200 to watch YouTube videos? From a guy...who...talks...with...a...slow...monotone. If his 23 videos are worth $200, mine are worth $2,000. Pay up, suckers!

@tim Check is in the mail.

January 02, 2013  | person_outline Will

it is still easy to put new timbres in animoog,ive noticed on sites people emailing they cant put new timbres in & sunshine audio has stopped their animation 3 timbre pack,so please someone let them know-click on library choose caches,now wait while it loads some of your timbres then at top of screen you will see 8 boxes click on last one named samples-put them in there,hope thats helpful andre

January 02, 2013  | person_outline andre

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