I noticed that Apple added MIDI support to iOS a few releases back, but I never bothered to find out how far it went and I didn’t think about it again until Apple released GarageBand for the iPad and iPad 2 last week for just $4.99. I saw that Apple was promoting live electric guitar and bass input via a $99 device made by Apogee called JAM, but I didn’t see anything about supporting MIDI controls, so I figured it didn’t, but my curiosity got the better of me today and I did a little googling.
As it turns out the iPad supports some MIDI input devices via USB using the iPad Camera Connection Kit, a feature that 3rd party apps have already been taking advantage of. Further more, GarageBand for iOS supports at least some MIDI input devices. One blogger did some experimentation and found that it supported his USB enabled MIDI keyboard and a MIDI device via a discrete USB to MIDI interface. Furthermore, he found that a number of controls, including the pitch, mod, pan and volume controls were supported, as were the sustain and expression petals. Pretty cool!
Another blog has, through careful investigation, described more of the details of GarageBand for iPad’s MIDI support, including details on control mappings for the various drum options.
This is a big step towards iPad’s as both content creation devices and more general-purpose and extensible computing devices.