I have been a fan of MIDI ever since it became popular in the 80′s. In the 90′s MIDI controller keyboards became available that removed much of the sound processing and programming power from the actual keyboard synthesizer and relied on an external computer system as the source. This was revolutionary for those limited in budget but more importantly allowed musicians to use the keyboard mainly for playing and rely totally on the computer sequencing software to control the MIDI data. Most sequencing software at the time did not recognize specific makes and models of keyboard synths therefore manufacturer specific features were not directly accessible via the various computer music programs when someone used a full featured synthesizer.
I must have a twin working for ION Audio or a designer there must have read my mind. I say this because I have always wanted an external musical keyboard that I could dock into a handheld computer. Not connect via cable like to a laptop but have the keyboard actually merged with the handheld like the Windows Mobile device when they first came out.
ION Audio has actually fulfilled my long time wish and the product will be available very soon it seems. The iDiscover keyboard is a 25-key, battery operated musical keyboard with a custom iPhone/iPod Touch application. You might be thinking why this is so exciting for me? Well, here is my short list of reasons:
- The external musical keyboard runs on batteries therefore I can take it anywhere.
- No heavy laptop required to be carried with me.
- No laptop bootup time required (2+ minutes loading Windows) when I get inspired to record a musical sequence I have in my head. The iPhone/iPod Touch is instant ON and ready to start.
- Takes advantage of my iPod Touch which already has a great sound processor and decent amount of memory for storing short musical sequences.
- No cables required which can be lost or damaged easily.
- Since the keyboard plugs into the iPhone/iPod Touch, the whole system is readily upgradable when new applications become available for the iPhone through ION Audio or a third party source.
The keyboard has many of the features of a professional keyboard:
- Velocity sensitivity.
- Pitch bend wheel.
- Modulation wheel.
- Physical buttons for sound bank selections.
- USB/MIDI connection thereby allowing me access to my PC or MAC for even more musical flexibility at home.
I would love to take this musical keyboard for a test drive when the unit becomes available in the second quarter of 2010. It certainly meets my needs as a true portable on demand musical keyboard. At the end of the day, the iPhone or iPod Touch has all the capabilities of my full fledged laptop and then some without the bulk and weight.
The iDiscover is the latest product from ION Audio and will be released along side the iTYPE keyboard which is a full qwerty keyboard. Look for both in the spring/summer of 2010. I know I will be.
More Details: ION Audio