Apple’s New iOS 4.2 = iPad MIDI input / output via USB & Wifi!

We have exciting news this week for music producers who crave more integration with their iPads and iPhones – the coming update of iOS 4.2 will include Core MIDI as part of the operating system. This is big news for anyone who has been producing on the iDevices as the options until now have been limited for performance and sequencing on iOS. Some workarounds for MIDI on the iPhone have been published and TouchOSC has been gaining momentum for a new communication protocol as well, but these advances are nowhere near as exciting as true MIDI integration with iOS.

Furthermore the change may come sooner that we expected – as early as November 7th according to The Guardian. Apple had reported the date to come “sometime in November” but a recent post on their support pages has leaked the release date in the following response to a quirk in the alarm clock application: In some regions, shortly before or after the daylight saving time (DST) change, repeating alarms created in the Clock app may work incorrectly. After November 7th, 2010, you can set your alarms to repeat again.”

The 4.2 update will integrate Apple’s Core MIDI framework in two ways: First as a unique Wi-Fi MIDI protocol for Apple devices (we don’t know if other, non-apple, devices will work directly with this update but Apple-to-Apple connections should work.) The second way that Apple will introduce midi to iDevices is via the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit which will support USB MIDI devices.

So what does this mean for you, the user?

Well for starters it means you should be able to hook up a midi-keyboard to your iPad via the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, which has been found to be a very useful USB interface for the iPad. But until this release it didn’t work with MIDI equipment. Secondly, your iDevice will be able to send and receive MIDI signals over a wireless network connection, allowing you to expand your workflow between computer and iPad/Phone. How this will be integrated by developers and users is yet to be seen but leaves many of us very excited.

Music making on the iPad and iPhone have been extremely successful in the past year but many people have wondered how far it would go given the lack of integration of MIDI. With this release of iOS4.2 Apple seems to have paid attention to user needs and has give us more options for iOS, making it a more likely choice for my portable music sessions than before.

Michael Walsh is a writer, producer, dj and sound enthusiast living in Los Angeles. Read more of his work at soundsdefygravity.

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  • danimal
  • 11/6/2010

Sucks to not have a simple midi OUT on the ipad… i could use this live to trigger my midi guitar effects, send a click to the drummer, and sequence/samples to the the PA. C’mon Apple, GIVE US A MIDI OUT!!!!

  • Michael Walsh
  • 11/6/2010

Danimal – the iPad and iOS do, in fact, have MIDI out. This function is not available in all applications, however. Depending on the developer’s desires with applications they sometimes offer Midi out and sometimes they don’t. I currently use Polychord to control my hardware synths. I have used both WiFi midi and the Apple Camera kit with a cheap usb to midi interface to do this – they both work.

  • Greg
  • 11/6/2010

Get a sneak peek at our up and coming MIDI app that will be a musicians dream. Easily chord any song with beautiful chord changes. No music reading required. Never need sheet again. If you have a line of notes, we will give you the chords to sound like a pro. Easily Re-harmonize and arrange your favorite songs. http://www.gospel-chords.com/ipad.