Alas NAMM has come to an end, but this has been a surprising year for iOS!
Everyone here knows that iOS is a big deal, but at these mega-tradeshows it tends to be ghettoized into a corner. I'm totally blown away by not only the importance manufacturers have placed on iOS compatibility, but also the press! In a video for a series of keyboards, you can hear the Sounds and Gear rep saying something along the lines of, "Uh yea, that's nice and all, but can I plug any of this into an iPad directly?"
App developers, and bloggers, have been able to comfortably ignore NAMM, because NAMM would do the same for us. Now I'm not so sure, and perhaps next year we might all have to plan to head to Anaheim.
Among the iOS highlights this year was Eventide announcing the H9, a guitar pedal that features all of their previous pedals in one box, and managed by an iOS app.
Both Roland and IK Multimedia announced new mobile monitors, specifically designed for iOS. I give the nod to IK on this one, who seriously trumped Roland with Bluetooth and even a built in iRig jack on their iLoud! At $300 it ain't cheap, but it has stereo and you'd pay about that for a stereo pair of cheap monitors.
Novation had a surprising announcement with the Launchkey keyboard. Not only is this a shiny new keyboard range, but they also featured a Launchpad app heavily in their demos! I can't wait to get my hands on that!
Best of Show - NAMM 2013
I believe iConnectMIDI4+ deserves the Best of Show distinction, and not just among the iOS related goodies. Sure, Korg's MS-20 mini is impressive, and at an unbelievably low price, but their iMS-20 app beats it in my mind for the workflow advantage of having presets! The iConnectMIDI4+, on the other hand, is offering something totally new and seriously innovative.
Just looking at the MIDI connectivity is jaw dropping. You can connect 3 different devices; be that a couple of iPads and a computer, or really any combination of computers and iDevices. With all 3 of these devices connected, they can now share 12 MIDI instruments. This includes 4 MIDI In/Out DINs and 8 on USB-MIDI via a powered hub! I don't know how you route MIDI in your setup, but I am forever screwing around in MIDI-Ox (Windows) to either send my keyboard to my iPad or straight into my computer. Sometimes I'll get fancy and add in my Korg nanoKontrol as well, but this whole process is a total pain in the ass. Now I can just have everything plugged into one box. I don't even have 12 MIDI instruments/controllers, but I'll be glad to have the space to grow into.
iConnectivity also revealed Audio Pass-Through Technology, which allows you to send a pure digital signal from your iPad to your computer, avoiding digital-to-analog converts that most of us use today. This has been the main problem with other "pro" docks.
iConnectMIDI4+ also features Audio Pass-through. This patent pending technology is integral to using iOS, and multiple computing devices (PC, MAC, iOS) in a professional environment by enabling the devices to pass not only MIDI data but also audio data from device to device. There are many practical applications for this technology, for example now musicians can use a daw on their MAC or PC to control a virtual instrument or other music making program on their iOS or other computing device (PC, MAC, iOS) and send the MIDI data as well as audio data back to the DAW without extra cables, or signal degradation or additional analog to digital conversion.
iConnectMIDI4+ will even charge iDevices you plug into it, a feat no USB hub can do when connecting via the camera connection kit!
To top it all off, this box of wonder is just $200! Similar boxes that just carry MIDI from a single computer start at $235. If all of that is way more than you'll ever need, or outside of your budget, there is also the iConnect2+ for around $90.
What is your pick for the Best of NAMM? Comment below, and it doesn't have to be iOS related.