Even before its official announcement in late January, Apple’s new iPad has captivated the personal computer industry. Set to hit the streets this April, the iPad is clearly a popular mobile computing solution for traditional mobile computer users. However, Apple’s new tablet may find an unexpected cult following among electronic musicians and DJs at the expense of JazzMutant’s Lemur.
JazzMutant Lemur: An Electronic Music Performance Innovation
Unrivaled to this point, the JazzMutant Lemur is a high-end multitouch surface for controlling audio, video and lighting software. Unlike traditional MIDI surface controllers, the Lemur relies on the high-speed OpenSoundControl (OSC) protocol for transferring information between the Lemur and a host computer. Lemur users also enjoy the luxury of having proprietary software built into a road-worthy enclosure. But although stunning in form and feature, the Lemur’s big caveat is a retail price tag of close to $2000 USD.
Apple iPad Makes Multitouch Surface Control Affordable
Apple’s sleek new 9.7-inch multitouch interface combined with a Mac operating system opens the door for iPad software developers to create apps with previously unparalleled control over all types of digital audio software. Digital audio workstations, software instruments and plug-in processors could all be manipulated on an iPad in much the same way as on the more luxurious JazzMutant Lemur.
JazzMutant Lemur vs. Apple iPad
Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a Lemur, musicians and DJs will be able achieve a similar experience with a $499 iPad running third-party audio controller software (pricing on this software remains to be seen be will likely be less than the $1500 difference between a base model iPad and a Lemur).
Apple has another advantage over the Lemur in that the screen resolution is 1024×768 on the iPad versus the Lemur’s 800×600. Furthermore, an iPad allows the user to take advantage of its more popular features such as web access, eBook reading and general portable computing in the Mac iOS environment.
But in order for the iPad to be a true threat to the Lemur, a powerful third-party audio controller app must be developed. Users should also note that the iPad will not enjoy the same durability nor will it enjoy the benefits of the JazzMutant’s proprietary software.
Will the iPad be the death of the Lemur?
JazzMutant’s Lemur is undoubtedly an efficient and road-worthy audio software controller with a legion of dedicated users and extensive industry praise. However, the price tag is a deterrent for many DJs and musicians searching for a decent audio control surface.
While the iPad may never directly replace the Lemur, there is little doubt that the iPad will become a viable and popular option for those unable to afford the luxury of a Lemur – especially if a Lemur-inspired iPad app makes its way on to the market.