Friday, January 29, 2010

the last ipad post

*this article is not based on any real research... it's just the product of observations, sweeping generalizations, and toilet seat pontificating.

What id like to see of the ipad.
I hope this is the last I speak of the ipad. I d hate to rant without purpose. But then again, the internet is my soap box; I have the talking stick; so someone has to listen.

Yeah… im a bit underwhelmed by it’s actual execution. No multitasking. No camera. Brushes? Eh. No flash. For people with a netbook or an e-reader, this probably won’t improve your life unless you really hate running windows os on a netbook (though the iphone os on the ipad doesn’t seem much better) or you really want a color ereader.

If you don’t have an ebook, an ereader, an ipod touch, or were looking to spend money on a top of the line ipod and find an ipad more useful, you will probably be happy buying an ipad. Personally, if steve jobs sent me one, I’d happily use it as my cafĂ© internettin device and for reading gizmodo on the toilet. Plus the glass screen seems easier to keep clean than keys that trap… well, crap. (I’m talking about eating sandwiches and getting crumbs everywhere… not wiping up spooge. But that’s a reality as well.)

But for the creative community, and more specifically djs on a digital setup, I think the ipad has potential far larger than apple’s seemingly mundane intent.

What is an ipad? It’s a fairly large wireless touchscreen with a 1ghz processor and min 16gb sshd, I can’t remember if it has Bluetooth. But it also has some form of usb connection to sync with your computer. ( I can’t remember if it’s in the form of an actual usb port or a cable that is a dock terminal on one side and a usb port on the other… but you know,.. that white apple cable)

First off the bat, you may think im proposing some sort of serato app that allows you to have two virtual decks and spin right on the ipad. BAD IDEA. Sorry. But from the point of view of a working dj with real club and crowd experience, there is no way you could cram the necessary info into that screen size and come close to creating an environment that resembles mixing with decks or cdjs. You’d end up turning the thing into one of those stupid plastic toy turntables that have a “realistic scratch sample” play when you thumb a 2in plastic disc.

But what some fancypants and capable company (with experience in digital djing and has a successful solid digital dj program under their belt already) could do, is write an ipad app that allows you to control extra parameters on that digital dj rig. Liiiiiike: an x/y axis area for efx decay/sustain. A tap tempo area. You could have maybe an array of buttons/sliders/virtual pads to trigger loops (and adjust loop in and end), hotcues, and samples. Or how about a side screen that allows you to look through and select music in cover flow style and allows you to keep your music selection away from the eyes of prying other djs (djing in am(rip) mode feels kinda pretentious in some settings). Now this may be a stretch. But what if serato had a plug in that allowed you to display the full wavelength of a song on the ipad. Add loops by highlighting a section of the song (concurrent/multiple loops.), then add hot cues to that song and then trigger the loop/hotcues by tapping the screen. In real time. On the fly. In fact, the ipad has a headphone jack. Let me cue samples and hotcues off the ipad(in internal mode on the ipad) too.

Of course all this depends on apple’s ability/willingness to use their hardware in that fashion. If the hardware can’t handle it, then it can’t. but I’m convinced that if it can handle internet browsing, word processing, and music/movie playback, it working in conjuction with the laptop’s processor should be able to handle something as simple as file navigation and editing id3 tags right? Additionally I don’t know if the ipad touchscreen is intended for the extra milage a dj’s setup would incur. But why not try it.

I think however is it depends on how much “access” apple allows to the actual hardware. Multitasking? (multiple spaces for diff efx and serato controls? WINNING.) Is it not able to multitask because it’s not capable of running multiple programs? Im not sure. But I’d bet against that. Im guessing it has to do with the limitations of the iphone os. Now if for some reason apple’s fascination with control dictates that they won’t open the os up and allow for more desktop environment, (I can’t dl a zip, decompress and then put it in it’s right folder on an ipad? You can do that on a netbook) then that would be the Achilles heel for this product. In reality, I’d say scrap the app process and let people just make programs for the ipad. or keep it. But give people some room to do what we want with it.

Just don’t nerf the product because you have some sort of drm keystoned moral system. Because otherwise, the ipad is just kinda cool. But not as functional as it could be.

Realistically I should be asking serato to create a similar plugin/app for one of those windows based tablets cnet talked about during ces. But as someone who is working on a mac, I’d rather not. I like osx. And I can only imagine waves of complication in trying to input a windows/ubuntu/non osx governed peripheral into my current computer. But if I felt it would be successful I would. If buying a windows tablet would expand my dj setup that much. Hells to the yes. (and yes I know I could achieve what I am describing using traktor and a midi controller. But the format of a set controller isn’t as flexible as designing a GUI)

And serato. If any of this reached you, sounded like a good idea, and want to know more… hollerate at cho boy.

…now back to our scheduled programming…..

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