updated 08:45 pm EDT, Thu November 4, 2010
MIDI via USB with iPad camera kit
Apple has continued to improve iOS with new features geared for musicians, as v4.2 will finally bring official support for MIDI hardware. The Core MIDI framework appears to support several options for directly connecting devices, including a Wi-Fi MIDI option and MIDI via USB, according to a Create Digital Music report.
The USB option should be supported by a wide range of existing hardware, although users will likely need to attach an external power source to their MIDI controllers or other gear. User reports suggest that power-sipping devices, such as M-Audio's Uno adapter, may still be compatible. Apps will be able to take advantage of Apple's camera adapter, rather than requiring users to purchase a separate dongle.
The Wi-Fi standard has yet to be fully detailed, although it is expected to enable wireless communication with other iOS handhelds or Mac computers. It is unclear if this option might add additional latency, however.
Several companies are already making specialized adapters that connect to MIDI devices. While the official MIDI APIs may make some irrelevant, the company behind one such device, iConnectMIDI, suggests that the framework may help to further reduce latency for existing products.