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Apple's iOS 4.2 Getting MIDI Hardware Support

Create Digital Music reports that Apple's upcoming iOS 4.2 will provide native MIDI hardware support, allowing MIDI-capable devices to connect with Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

MIDI support was previously revealed back in September. Leaked details regarding previous iOS 4.2 builds showed that Apple had inserted CoreMIDI framework support. Now unnamed sources have provided more details regarding actual external hardware, indicating that Apple devices will have two methods of connection: Wi-Fi MIDI and MIDI via USB, the latter using the iPad Camera Connection Kit's USB adapter.

This is a significant step for musicians. Decades ago, synthesizer sequencing was handled using external hardware. Today sequencing can be done using a laptop and software like Avid's Pro Tools and Cakewalk's Sonar Producer. However producing similar apps for the iPad or even the iPhone and iPod Touch would mean touch-screen MIDI controls in a handy, portable device.

The Wi-Fi MIDI aspect of iOS 4.2 remains unclear, however it's assumed that iOS devices will wirelessly connect to other Apple handhelds and Macs only--this may be handy when programming a symphony of Apple devices to play individual instruments. Devices using MIDI via USB avenue may need to attach an external power source, as the camera adapter doesn't provide enough current.

Given that the Camera Connection Kit only fits the iPad, its unclear how the iPhone and iPod Touch will connect with external devices without purchasing 3rd-party solutions like the $70 MIDI Mobilizer adapter from Line 6. MIDI device manufacturer iConnectMIDI said that the new CoreMIDI framework support won't render its products obsolete, but rather will likely further decrease latency in iOS MIDI applications.