[This post has been updated with some important notes]
Bluetooth is the future of MIDI on iOS.
Several weeks ago, we saw the first steps toward this, and today it’s one step further. Introducing BlueMidi: a Virtual MIDI compatible Bluetooth MIDI transmitter for iOS. This app receives MIDI from other apps running on the same iOS device and continues to send that MIDI, through Bluetooth, to your Mac via this helper app.
Note:This and the post you are currently reading are not by the same developer. So this does not correspond with this (the video embedded above).
Also note that: The second app being demonstrated in the video has pads that light up slightly after you touch them, making it not a very good latency demonstration…
Another note: This app requires a Mac running Bluetooth LE, meaning Macs released after June 2012.
One more note: the iOS app requires Bluetooth LE and is compatible with the following devices:
iPhone 4S and iPhone 5
iPod Touch 5th gen.
iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini
The app also requires iOS 6.0 or later
Now, there is no need for a WiFi network (it’s been proven insignificant anyway – note that that test was done with a different iOS app) and your dock is now freed up for an audio interface or charging cable! All that’s missing now is Bluetooth MIDI hardware or an adapter!
The sheet music apps available for the iPad have changed the way piano bar pianists perform forever. Check out this video from Hugh Sung, one of the founders of AirTurn Inc, demonstrating how quickly and easily you can open up a song with this app, and it’s comparability with the AirTurn BT-105. Brilliant.
That match corresponding song in iPod library with PDF metadata feature is also, pretty brilliant.
We’ve got an eye on the AirTurn, as well as the Griffin Box, the Alesis Docks, and several other pedal controllers designed to work with iOS devices. Our objective is to add compatibility to as wide a range of devices as possible – but we’re not there just yet. I can’t make promises about when, but this is a very hot topic internally, and we continue to look at what can be done in future releases.
Good to know that it’s on their radar. If we do start seeing this, a lot more guitar interfaces will be better suited for live use, as you’ll be able to use a pedal like the AirTurn BT-105 4 pedal version to activate various effects/presets, instead of having to hook up a MIDI pedal board. Plus, less cables is always better. You might even be able to play a live show with just an iPhone, guitar interface, AirTurn pedal, and speaker system!
A perfect pair! I did not know that AirTurn offered a 4 pedal BT-105. It’d be nice to start seeing some guitar apps (JAMUP PRO) work with this thing. There’d be no worrying about wires during live performances, plus it’d free up your dock for connecting an audio interface instead of a MIDI pedal board (although we’ll be seeing an alternative to that soon enough).
Loopy for iPhone
Loopy HD for iPhone and iPad
JamUp Pro XT for iPhone and iPad is currently %50 off
That’s a fantastic idea that I hadn’t really thought of. In fact, maybe it’d be best to just have a really basic app that just implements my Bluetooth stuff and sends/receives MIDI messages to other apps with Virtual MIDI. ROTOSynth still has dev to be done on the synth engine, so this way, I could get the BT stuff out without having to finish ROTOSynth first. I’m thinking about taking the project to Kickstarter, I’m just a really busy grad student and I almost need a little startup company to get this going.
…I’m TOTALLY going to back that Kickstarter.
Jay put a page up on his site that details the hardware, software, and some latency stats that YOU HAVE TO SEE. He’s looking for some positive feedback before getting started so if this is something you’d like to see LEAVE HIM A COMMENT HERE!
MIDI over Bluetooth on iOS would be a breakthrough in convenience, portability, as well as save you some money. MIDI controllers with Bluetooth built in would be wireless (obviously) providing for more portability, as there would be no need for an interface or cables. If there was a keyboard like the nanoKEY2 that supported Bluetooth, your mobile studio could be expanded with a physical instrument that you could take with you on those hour long train rides to work. Also, there would be no need for a WiFi network, and your dock connector would be freed up for an audio interface.
Another thought: A free app could (has been – App Store link) be developed that sends MIDI received via Bluetooth to another app via Virtual MIDI instead of waiting for every developer to add Bluetooth support. Similarly, a physical Bluetooth MIDI plug could allow you to use the hardware you already own.
Loopy HD for iPhone and iPad (and Loopy for iPhone) supports Bluetooth foot page turners like the AirTurn BT-105, as well a QWERTY keyboards. If you’re looking for a cheap addition to your setup to control this fantastic looper app, this is a very viable option…