Update to iOS 7 now?

That’s the big question. As iOS 7 launches with Inter-App Audio in its list of new features, many people making music with their iPad are eager to try out the new feature. Does it work? Is it ready? There appears to be quite a mixed bag of answers. Should I update now?
Several developers commented around the web regarding whether or not you should update and generally are saying; “No, not yet!” A lot of music apps haven’t updated yet.

I don’t have all the answers myself, but my first couple hours with iOS 7 installed on my iPad 4
(still using iOS 6 on my iPad 3 until the dust settles) have been underwhelming to say the least. I guess I assumed incorrectly what is compatible and what isn’t?
The first thing I tried was to launch production versions of Auria and Nave to see if I could start streaming audio to record. Nope. Didn’t work. Then I tried another synth (Sorry I can’t name it. Its a beta, and I am under NDA) and it didn’t work either. Each I had assumed were compatible with iOS 7 IAA. Perhaps just basically compatible but maybe just not yet IAA compatible?
I also tried Addictive Synth (which by the way does work with Auria through Audiobus now) to Auria with no success. I shouldn’t be surprised having not seen an update for a while for Addictive.
OK? Now what? That’s a bit discouraging. I thought the flurry of updates I’ve been getting recently that mention iOS 7 meant also IAA was part of it. Not so.
I continued testing anyway to try and dig through my confusion and figure out what I am missing.
Next I tested Cubasis with the same 3 synths, and only the beta one worked. Well, sort of. Cubasis recorded MIDI from the beta synth, but couldn’t capture plain old audio. Huh?
Nave however is IAA compatible and works with other compatible apps. Just nothing I’ve tried so far.
The problem is less with the apps, and just that a lot was expected at launch. Oops. Testing out my apps confirmed I’m clearly guilty of that myself.
However, the MIDI it did record was clean and sounded fine. However repeating this test resulted in the connection simply failing during the recording, missing most of my input. Hey! I didn’t touch stop! Oh brother, it doesn’t seem like IAA is ready as I had thought. Doh!

Its too early to be sure of anything, but having tried this out a little bit using my primary music apps without success I clearly have confused iOS 7 compatibility updates to mean IAA compatibility, when it doesn’t. I may have set my expectations too high, too early. A bit of a cautionary tale. Lesson learned.
I still want to know what’s going on.
I’ve searched Apples website for instructions or some kind of helpful information about IAA, and found nothing useful. If you can find anything, I’d really appreciate you sharing the link in a comment. What is compatible? What isn’t? Is there a list anywhere? OH THERE IS A LIST!
Thank you Rolf at Tempo Rubato for this link to IAA compatibles

I think the best advice for now is if you are dependent on a single iOS device to make your music, don’t update to iOS 7 just yet. With more questions than there are answers, its probably a good idea to just hang on to iOS 6 until everything settles. Just in case.
If you have a second device, than you might be alright doing as I have by I installing iOS 7 on only one of them. At least then you can see and try it all for yourself, and not be tied down by the early bugs and incompatibilities. Updates will surely come.

Outside of music production iOS 7 is pretty cool. I think. The icons, App Store, and general interface is a nice new visual treat. I love the way shutting down background apps is handled now. Double click home, and everything that’s “on” is visible showing the last screen that was used. Swipe left and right to view the apps currently running in the background. Shut it “off” by flicking the app image upwards. Cool.
It may take a few minutes getting used to the big appearance changes. Icons look very different in many cases. The parallax background is nifty. Its like the eyes are following you.
Menus are different too and some with new options.
Well, anyway this is more about the music making aspect, not a overall review. I’m just saying, the look is generally pleasing.

Its all exciting and heading in the right direction with IAA, but where’s the roadmap? Is anyone else confused?
Lots to be curious about, making the urge to click “Update” hard to resist. Its up to you.
Nothing to be all puffed up and worried about, but use caution. Little is ready yet, and according to the Audiobus guys there are “Bugs”.
Do you want to be lab rat?

As the hours blend into days and go on, I am learning that while iOS 7 launched, has Inter-App Audio capability in the OS, very few music apps have updated with compatibility. I guess not everyone knew it was coming? Nave, & Magellan, being some of the exceptions to offer compatibility with IAA at launch. No major DAWs to host them though. I did (now realized in error) expect the major DAWs to be ready to host. None that are relevant to me are currently able to do so. Not yet. IAA is just not here yet in any meaningful or useful way, as many had expected. Or maybe it was just me. Whatever.

I get that only a little time has past since iOS 7 launched, but that’s not what bothers me. A day to us end users, but months for developers and Apple. It’s the months before end users could see the picture that Apple and developers could, which fails to land a logical blow on me. I mean what were they doing? Why didn’t they have more ready? Those where some of the questions which left me perplexed.
Well, turns out that there were big bugs (now information that devs can discuss with their NDAs lifted) in their way right up until the last couple weeks. Some that are still unresolved. With those bugs still in iOS 7 at launch, it does seem more logical now why barely any music apps are IAA ready.
In that case, considering the circumstances, I just don’t see the update being a great idea right now. Not if you were expecting to use IAA right off the bat with everything.

PS- iOS7 is drastically reducing my battery time. With my normal daily workload and activity prior to updating, I was getting 5-6 hours use. After updating the same workload and activity nets me about 3.5 – 5. Hours.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and or experiences with the new iOS 7 Inter-App Audio in a comment here. Advice, concerns, information and whatever is all welcome.

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21 comments

  1. I suspect that “iOS7 compatible” means “it doesn’t crash in iOS7”. Inter-app audio is probably going to take a little while before everyone gets on board, it certainly isn’t something you should expect automatically, it takes specific developer support (until the new Audiobus SDK makes it implicitly easy).

  2. Well, I’m in the same camp as you. I’m not ready to upgrade to iOS 7 on iPad 3 or iphone 4S yet, but my wife did and she likes some of the features – but – doesn’t do music on it, well, she does listen and likes the ability to stream iTunes (a la Pandora) – first 20 minutes seem to give it a completely different look to the 4S. Change is inevitable, but just not ready yet.

  3. IAA requires a host app, and at the moment, there aren’t any. The next version of Auria will support IAA according to Rim at Wave Machine Labs. On the synth side, you have Nave, that other app, Magellan… and I think Arctic Pro. GarageBand will of course be a host app, but it seems to be lagging behind a bit for some reason.

    So yeah, I think it may be a few weeks before we really see IAA start to happen. I’m planning on upgrading my iPad 2 just for the sake of beta testing, but my iPad 4 will stay on iOS 6 until all of my main apps are updated and tested.

    1. I honestly thought all those updates I’ve been getting recently with “iOS 7 compatibility” vaguely stated also meant inter-app audio compatible. Nope. Was I really the only one who thought that?
      Its been confusing. At any rate, nothing is what I thought it was. I only hope this post will at least help someone who assumed as I had to now understand IAA is really just not here today. So waiting for iOS 7 to hit for that feature was in vain. A bit of a downer. IAA was the only thing I cared about in iOS 7. Yet I totally misunderstood the whole thing.

  4. My own confusion stems from this: when I look at the Apple site and at the list of things it has to offer, I see no mention of the term Inter App Audio, and even if I missed a tidbit reference, they certainly don’t seem caught up in making it a significant priority. I know a few times on this site it has been pointed out that I got off topic, and I hope I am not doing so now, but it seems that all may not be as right between Apple and Audiobus. A while back, when Audiobus suggested (in my lowly interpretation at least) that they were excited to be a part of the whole IAA development scheme, I was filled with a great sense of hopeful optimism and anticipation that has been absolutely deflated in the last few days. I wonder if we will find out what that “third thing” was that Audiobus promised us in the last update. My guess is that things will work out over time, but I cannot help feeling that this version of iOS has really pissed off a lot of musicians who expected a little more TLC with the handling of the transition…This feels more like a really awkward and uncertain evolution. Tell me I am wrong, please. That would cheer me up…

    1. No, I don’t think you’re wrong. Sorry. I feel similarly. It really seems like it’s been handled with a bit of a sloppy hand.
      By the way, I hope I haven’t been hard on you? I do sincerely appreciate your comments. πŸ™‚

  5. I appreciate and always look forward to your column. It is inspirational, as well as informative, and I think you, the people running the linked sites you share, and all the madly absorbed iOS musician/producers out there are creating a fantastic and viable movement that is actually starting to get some very serious attention outside of the iOS inner circle. Music is being made in new ways, and because of the tremendous mobility of this platform, in places that we cannot drag our studios into. Let’s just hope that Apple doesn’t botch this all up. I bantered with a guy who worked on the Beta version of this iOS 7, and he says that it was downright bonkers bad in earlier testings, and says that all will be fine. I feel a bit better about things after hearing that…

    I can handle just about any feedback, as there is almost always something to be learned from it, and hey, I sure as hell know how to dish it out.

    Keep up the great work! Maybe the Grammys (for what they are worth) will bring in an iOS category in the not too distant future, lol! I am thinking, something like a minor key “Nebraska”, done on an abandoned farm, sampling broken old cars and rusted machinery, filtered through Turnado, underpinned with some nice, spooky Nave Pads, and me wailing in an old barn, set on fire, of course…

    Try doing THAT on a desktop DAW…

  6. Hey guys,

    Sebastian from Audiobus here. Regarding inter-app audio: Mike’s been working on integrating inter-app audio in Audiobus for the last months but there were a few show-stopper bugs in it that he’s documented and which Apple has fixed… but only in the Gold Master of iOS 7, which we only had since roughly a week ago.

    So that’s the reason for some of the delay. Also we weren’t able to comment on any of this until yesterday and Apple surely doesn’t release any information about anything, ever.

    In the end Inter-App Audio is not a product, but a technology.

    We’ve developed Audiobus as a product with ease of integration for developers and ease of use and discovery for users in mind being a priority.

    1. Thank you Sebastian! That really explains a lot. Sounds to me like iOS 7 might not have really been all that ready on all aspects of its functionalities? Apple could have benefited from allowing a little more information out. Couldn’t have possibly harmed them at all. But that’s just me whistling in the wind since nothing will ever change how they do things.

  7. Have to say i currently did not expected anything to run (properly)regarding iAA but i’m curious to know aout the”oldskool”way:Audiobus and apps like Cubasis,Nave,Addictive,Thor,Sunrizer…This are currently the most used(especially Addictive synth).Are they still working with Audiobus (into Cubasis)?I updated my 4s to iOS7 and the improvements i saw make me REALLY want to leave iOS6 behind on my ipad4 as well.As soon as possible πŸ™‚

  8. There’s a lot going on in the background. I imagine we’ll see what we basically saw with Audiobus, although perhaps not as strong a launch. I’d be surprised if Auria and GarageBand updates don’t hit within the next week. A lot of DAW devs were waiting to see how GB did things as the “standard” and it’s surprising that GB didn’t launch wit iOS 7. Other apps will quickly come on board just like they did with Audiobus, and before you know it, the first IAA cat piano will hit the App store. πŸ™‚

    What’s really funny is seeing folks on the Audiobus forums ask whether Audiobus will be needed anymore. Folks are totally underestimating those guys if they think the AB devs are just going to sit back and let it fall into obscurity. All I have to say is that IAA is an API, just like any other, and can be utilized equally by any dev with the know-how to do it. Someone else can do the math. πŸ˜‰

    1. That is funny. Audiobus will likely be valuable tool for a long time. I just wish I hadn’t misunderstood how things would unfold so differently. I certainly didn’t expect everything to be ready, but I did expect a good portion of things to be ready. I’m well aware that was a mistake. I had hopes that I’d at least be able to use the main apps in my workflow right away. It’s nobodies fault but my own, but I am very disappointed. I’m not a tech guy. I am just a regular end user so not having found any information prior to release of what the appropriate expectations should have been, was what threw me (and a great many others I’ve learned) way off. I may have simply missed it? At any rate, I think a better job of setting expectations could have been done across the board. The amount of secrecy was unnecessarily tight in my opinion. But it’s a new day. All that confusion is behind me now. I just move forward to try my best in all things and accept the lessons learned.

  9. I would like to know what Apple’s intended audience is for this IAA feature.
    Knowing who they’re aiming at would give us better insight into whether we are even part of that demographic. “We”, being composers.
    The reason I say this is that it was my impression that this would be for novices who wanted to jam along with their favorite rap tune, but not necessarily for recording pro audio.
    Just a thought.

    1. There are a number of ways to utilize MIDI. It depends much upon what apps are being used, and with what. You can use virtual MIDI to have one app controlling another and recording in yet another app. For example Arpeggionome with any synth which are being hosted by Cubasis. The combinations are vast. With the appropriate USB connections various professional devices can also be used with your iPad.

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