ReWire for iOS
I'm not an iOS developer, so I cannot vouch that this is possible, but I can definitely vouch that this is desirable!
First, a little background. On iOS, it is not currently possible to record digital audio generated by one app, into another, without the use of external hardware or using the system clipboard to copy rendered audio tracks from one app to another. I don't know if this is down to a constraint imposed by Apples DRM (i.e. if it was possible to do this via iOS API's it would be possible to have perfect digital copies of music purchased from iTunes) or simply that no-one has identified the following use cases before.
Say for example I have a number of iOS music apps generating audio in the background; Fruityloops, NLog and NanoStudio for example (note thats its possible with some apps to synchronise their MIDI clocks via CoreMIDI). I want to record a performance on NLog while using the other apps to provide bass and rhythm. The only way to currently record this on iOS is to use external hardware, usually the case being having to hack together your own wires, buy expensive connectors, or use a desktop / laptop based recording system, which is great.... unless you are on the move.
Now, ReWire provides a very interesting opportunity. If a ReWire multitracker host could be implemented as a standalone iOS app, and other app vendors were to implement the protocol in their own apps, in principle, I could route each thrid party apps audio output to a ReWire audio channel, and in the ReWire app, allocate each audio input to an individual track, providing me the means to record full quality noise free digital audio without any external hardware. Of course, as ReWire supports MIDI, I could also sync these apps, using the ReWire app as the master clock, facilitating recording of each track over multiple passes, lest realtime performance is an issue. Also, there would be no DRM issues, as system audio out would never be recorded, eliminating iTunes piracy potentials.
Alternatively, rather than making a multitrack recorder app for iOS (Recorder for iOS?), you could potentially just implement a standalone ReWire host app, to which other apps could connect, inclusive of a third party multitracker- a multitrack app implementor could then use ReWire to take its inputs from ReWire, and route them to its own tracks. There are also tons of MIDI potentials here.
Say for example that I have my iPhone / iPod connected to my AKAI Synthstation 25. I could potentially setup the ReWire host app to intercept all incoming midi generated by performance on the SynthStation. I could then just use the ReWire app to route my midi to any open app that supports CoreMIDI, rather than having to focus on each app by bringing it in to the foreground first.
Considering that ReWire came out at a time that 300-400 MHz processors or less were the norm, I believe, but cannot qualify, that both the iPod, iPhone and iPad are up to task, and considering that the only way is up in terms of future hardware generations upping memory and CPU, if it is the case that current generation iOS devices are not up to scratch, its only a matter of time.
Any iPhone developers have anything to say on this? Any Propellorheads out there see any potential in this? Musicians? Personally, I see tons and I'd really like to get a discussion going on it.
Last edited by davidfoley; 2011-07-06 at 15:56.
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