Djing with the Ipad?

The internet is heating up with news about the Ipad, Apple’s new touch screen interface. Between rave reviews from some and boo’s from others that are calling it a giant iphone- you are probably wondering, but can I dj with it?  Lets take a look at what might actually be possible with the new ipad, and if it cant replace your dj laptop- perhaps it might be the low cost touch controller you have been waiting for?


Here are a few of the key features that are dj friendly:

  • 10 hour battery life means you can play without being plugged in at all.
  • Multi touch screen means lemur qualities without the lemur price
  • one model boasts a 64 GB hard drive which can hold a fairly large dj set.
  • some models will cost as little as $500 (WI-Fi model with 16gb)
  • 1GHZ processor is not blazing but might be enough to play a few dj tracks (but nothing too complex like keylock)
  • Light and very portable, 1.5 pounds, 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5 inches.
  • Third party hardware developers will be able to create sound card breakouts that improve the audio quality. Comes with a 1/8th” standard headphone out.


No Standard Ports

third party hardware developers will need to pay apple high royaltys to develop products for the platform. This will drive up costs and limit development. A USB port would have solved most of this.
No SDK access to iTunes library

The ipad has the same closed audio architecture as the ipod and only apple programs can access the Itunes generated playlists and songs. This means a dj program on the ipad must access songs loaded onto the hard-drive and wont be able to read your playlists. Gizmodo reports:

“Unlike the iPhone, the iPad does seem to have some shared storage aside from the photo roll. The newly released SDK reveals that when you connect an iPad to a PC or Mac, part of it—a partition, maybe?—mounts as a shared documents folder.”

not ideal, but it is a potential work around.

There is no RAM

Audio will be written and read from the flash drives directly. While solid state drives are blazing fast, can they deal with highly demanding audio process like djing on their own? We really have no idea- but suspect it might be a stretch. These are designed to stream one song at a time, not four with keylock and effects.


Its highly unlikely the Ipad offering will come close to replacing your laptop anytime soon. It is however very realistic that third party developers will port over in-expensive touch apps that will transform this low cost device into a very handy touch screen controller. The trouble remains getting that control data to the computer over bluetooth or wifi without dropouts or latency. This certainly is an exciting announcement for the computer world but not quite the groundbreaking news for djs that some might have hoped.

Looking for more information? Here are few interesting articles on the I-Pad subject.

GIZMODO  “8 Things that Suck About the iPad”

Create Digital Music How A Great Product Can Be Bad News: Apple, iPad, and the Closed Mac

Wolfire Blog “Web applications on the iPad”

Wired   “Apple iPad’s Display Is More Like a TV Than a Laptop”

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  • I Pad Dj | Get Your iPad Now

    […] Djing with the Ipad? | DJ TechTools – DJ TechTools The largest community for DJ and producer techniques, tutorials, and tips. Traktor secrets, controller reviews, a massive MIDI mapping library, and more…. […]

  • Shamir Dj

    Can I know name of the software shown above ?

  • Darren

    If you decide you need a mount to hold your iPad you should consider TheGigEasy Professional Mounting Solutions for iPad.

  • Lobo

    I simply think this is really awesome. The way i see it, it can be great for controlling traktor, even makes me think on replacing my cdj 400s and get this sweet thing 🙂
    How about that, controlling decks, effects, browser, loops, cues and leaving the audio 8 for audio output 🙂

  • Faraco

    Midipad should come out til the end of may : .. It controls software via wireless MIDI protocol.

    Sounds pretty nice, although all the wirelessness might produce some nasty latency issues when controlling.

  • Tony

    Touch DJ, will work on iPad, and it will rock, just as it does on the iPhone! Not to mention the countless other DJ apps on iPhone.

    Its not going to replace laptop and other controllers anytime soon unless someone works out a way to have 2 stereo outputs (maybe possible with bluetooth headset or av cable? i dunno im not an iphone dev).

    But even if these things technical issues are not resolved, iPad will still make for a fun mixing session! Just use a stereo to 2 mono splitter as i do

  • Pet Giraffe

    Don’t forget the rule of thumb though, buy apple’s SECOND gen versions of ALL their stuff. I bet with enough people behind it, they can prove a USB port’s WORTH to apple. I myself think I’m going to go ahead and pick myself up an IPad just because I been wanting to splurge on a new media device for some time now.

  • Sam

    Has no RAM? I am 99.9999999% sure it will!! lol

  • regend

    The iPad can replace turntables. Just check out this Vimeo:

  • doc_c

    Very disappointing article… a huge misstep for DJ Techtools, which is usually very useful.

    1) the iPad has no RAM

    What? no RAM??? Mate, this is serious… even the iPhone has 256MB RAM; let’s suppose the iPad has 512MB given the bigger screen.

    2) 1GHZ processor is not blazing but might be enough to play a few dj tracks (but nothing too complex like keylock)

    What? no keylock? Mate I hope you are joking… on the much lesser iPhone 3G processor (not to mention the 3GS’s) there are DJ apps that allow for mixing 2 tracks WITH keylock. Also, as every tech commenter has pointed out, the A4 IS actually blazingly fast, despite the 1GHz label.

    3) no standard ports

    Apple already offers a dock-to-USB adapter.

  • Mr.Raw

    It’s 2010 and Pc’s and laptops are going Quad, why the hell are we going backwards on a 1gig CPU machine??

    Do you have a contact in apple or something?For god sakes move forwards not backwards.

  • doubleyou

    so, this might have been mentioned already, but running ToneTable on this thing will be so fun!

  • DJSDive

    [quote comment=”26688″]This is a good step in the right direction… it will get there eventually. For now, I like my customizable, non-proprietary designs.[/quote]

    i think its slowly becoming apparent what Steve’s long term vision is for personal computing: one guy being the only source

    they are trying to reinvent personal computing alright, but its not the kind of personal computing i am looking for. i have better things to do than break into my own computers to unlock their true potential.

  • DOWN|3E4T

    I was just as excited about the IPad as I was about the MacBook Air? Guess what? I am just as disappointed with Apples continual arrogance/ignorance. I am not even gonna bother saying what so many already stated. I will continue to shake my fist at Apple. excuse me as I “bend over” my Macbook pro to type this while my iphone tickles my my backside.

    Now for sarcastic exit via song reference.

    “Could of been so beautiful..could of been so right” ~ Tiffany


  • Doom

    you know if you don’t mind windows you could try using the archos 9 it has windows 7

  • Russell

    We are in fact already working on getting the Sonorasaurus interface ready for the iPad. It’s hard to say what additional features we will have since a lot of the processing details are still not completely clear even to developers, but at the very least we will have a full screen version of Sonorasaurus with our first iPad iteration.

    Here is our very first mock up:

  • James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil

    I’ve used Macs for over 20 years, but I think Apple missed the target big time with this. In addition to the unfortunate name, I see the following:

    First, they apparently want you to purchase all content from Apple. They don’t mention that you can download free content. No thanks, no way. Then, no flash capability, no USB port, likely no user-replaceable battery, and a really ugly bezel. What was Steve thinking?

    What does it do that a normal tablet PC won’t do? Even one several years old and available for far less? Or a used netbook, for that matter. Show wide-screen movies? Not very well with the 4:3 screen dimensions they use.

    My ten y/o Walkabout HH3 tablet pc holds my 800+ free ebooks, shows my videos, pictures, has GPS, wifi, and cost a lot less. Did I mention it’s waterproof rugged, and almost indestructible?

    I see that there are only two things of positive note with the iPad. That it uses an Apple-designed chip, and an SSD drive. Both went almost unnoticed in the hype. The SSD drive will soon be the industry standard and Apple doing their own processors should be a wake-up call for Intel.

    Other than those two items, I see a big worm in the Apple.

  • NYC DJ Julio

    from Macrumors

    With the launch of the Apple iPad, there has been no shortage of reactions and opinions on the device. We feel the most promising aspect of the iPad is that there is now a relatively inexpensive full-sized multi-touch platform that is open to a massive audience of developers. Apple’s multi-touch iWork implementation seems to be just the beginning, and it would come as no surprise if Apple were to port more of their applications (iMovie, GarageBand, etc..) over to the iPad in time. The implementation of a File Sharing system for the first time opens up support for these sort of file-based applications.

    iPad is an incredible opportunity for developers to re-imagine every single category of desktop and web software there is. Seriously, if you’re a developer and you’re not thinking about how your app could work better on the iPad and its descendants, you deserve to get left behind.

    Several forum readers have expressed excitement that music tools akin to the Jazz Mutant Lemur will be possible. In fact, any of the impressive large screen multi-touch videos that we’ve seen over the past few years could be possible in some form on the iPad: Missile command, Jeff Han, TouchGrind, Warcraft III, MIDI controller.

  • Lance Blaise

    I was very disappointed with the ipad. Now with that being said, I think the TouchOSC will work so well on here. They said all of our iPhone apps will work on the ipad. So I am hoping this works right out of the box. Would be great to use the TouchOSC. This would make me happy.

  • the caper

    this is toooo good, its hitlers opinion on the ipad

  • FTW

    The iPad is an awesome device for its specific target market, which is the regular consumer. I know we all like seeing our dreams come true, but how often does that really happen? I moonlight as a photographer and a graphic designer, this product is perfect to show clients a portfolio or the pictures from their shoot, it’s also a great product for keynote presentations which are a necessity in most cases when getting a client. as a DJ i don’t see much that I like, but as a Graphic Designer, a Photographer, and even as a student where I have to do presentations in class almost every day, I find this to be an outstanding product. lightweight, cheaper than my MacBook, more robust than my iPhone and I can surf the web on WiFi or 3G.
    This product will get better with time, if it isn’t where you would like it to be now, just wait a few years, it’ll get there.

  • Apple Pie

    The IPad will come with its own djsoft / controler, it will be something great for djing and music production.
    Apple have associated with several dev …

  • djproben

    I am pretty sure that anything possible with a Lemur would be possible on this thing since in the end it’s just a controller — you don’t need incredible speed or multitasking to send and receive MIDI codes. Someone, probably the iTouchMIDI people, will develop a more complex interface than what is currently available for iPhones and take advantage of the larger screen space. I suppose someone could develop a rudimentary complete DJ app (there are already some for iPhone) but it just isn’t powerful enough or flexible enough to run something on the order of Traktor or ITCH all by itself. But a well thought out touchscreen controller that is integrated well with Traktor would be great; indeed, you could probably mimic most of the Traktor interface on the screen of the controller and manipulate it directly on the touchscreen so it would “feel” like you were playing directly on the iPad. Overall I think this will be really cool (and I can’t imagine having any problem getting the data to your laptop over USB via the 30-pin rather than relying on wifi) and it has a lot of possibilities, even though the iPad falls short on a lot of capabilities that it really should have had. I’ll still wait for the 2.0 version of it before I buy one, which is good advice for any Apple product (and I say this as a die hard Apple fan)….

  • Dylan S. / alaskaxus

    [quote comment=”26686″][quote comment=”26656″]Certainly not what I was hoping for.[/quote]

    Ironically, that’s *precisely* what most people said about the iPod about 9 years ago ;)[/quote]

    because the iPod turned from something no one wanted into something everyone could use. apple listened and changed the iPod into something cheaper, and easier to use, and then BAM marketshare.

  • William M.

    We have been following this for some time, I also own a Lemur. To me, although it’s a great idea I am not sure if the iPad will be ready for the world of DAW controlling. The thing that made the Lemur great was its simplicity, in which it did only what it was designed to do. Now you have a controller that has applications running in the background. The iPad has a lot more to it than just its individual apps and I think until we have control to alter the OS or at least some sort of task manager where we can disable things that might slow down the processing of the iPad, it will not be fully ready for the world of music production/Dj’ing. Also with the Lemur there is plenty of support where with TouchOSC it’s still fairly new at least its integration with the iPad so we don’t know how stable it may be to be realistic. I also don’t like the idea of not being able to use a hard line connection between the iPad and laptop. Too many variables with having a wireless connection and I am not sure how reliable it will be. I also don’t think TouchOSC gives you the power of scripting and real hardcore MIDI editing that the Jazzeditor gives.

    All in all I can’t wait to get my hands on one and hope that it indeed lives up to the hopefulness.

  • Chris Kraft

    Although on its own the iPad might not make a great DJ device it could become a great controller. In the 3.1 release of the OS and SDK they added a great API for communicating with external devices via the connector. So I could easily see writing a control app for this thing and then plugging it into a larger device you keep tucked away.

    I am pretty excited about this device for one reason. I’ve been working on some touch based devices with larger touch screens and if you try to go out and buy just a 10″ touch screen you will pay as much as the iPad costs on its own.

    This way I can buy the iPad, write my software for it using the APIs and get everything I wanted. If someone else wants the system I just buy a iPad, load my software on it and couple it with the hardware I also supply.

    — Chris

  • Dj Nvidia

    The iPad is a great casual device. For someone who already has desktop or gets a laptop from work and doesn’t want to invest in a full blown mac book.

    But thats all it is… other than that is not a real functioning computer (not in the sense most people think of). Even with the iWork sweet and mail applications it’s not, a real work tool. For real work people will have to go back to their work computer or their desktop.

    But what I will say is that connected to another computer (a laptop), the iPad would be a very cool touch controller.

    But thats it… not a stand alone, fully functioning dj tool…

  • armando

    ps – beatmaker on the ipad omg *drool*

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment=”26659″]The problem I see with using this as a touch controller with TouchOSC is the need to have the wireless network on, which at least for me when using my iPhone, has caused audio drop outs.

    Still would like to try it though.[/quote]

    I’ve actually used touch osc in a set using my airport card (that is if you have a mac). It was stable. I don’t use it though for effects or anything audio i simply use it to browse through my files so i don’t have to touch the laptop while playing. One could create their own network (again, has to be a mac) then simply connect their ipod/iphone.

  • ManDingo

    ManDingo is looking ahead when mixers, controllers and CD platters will all be touch-screen!! this is the first step! ManDing is a future tech-head, both in music and in technology. Lol!

  • DJ Van Draken

    This is a good step in the right direction… it will get there eventually. For now, I like my customizable, non-proprietary designs.

  • nilicule

    [quote comment=”26656″]Certainly not what I was hoping for.[/quote]

    Ironically, that’s *precisely* what most people said about the iPod about 9 years ago 😉

  • STG

    Don’t forget it can’t do flash, so no browsing beatport. We might not even be able to download files that aren’t from the app store. This is just a big bag of hurt.

  • DJSDive

    the iTouchMidi guys just announced that they are back in action and are looking at the iPad SDK. i am hoping that someone will figure out how to “network” via the dock connector. also hackers will hopefully jailbreak the thing so that multi tasking can be enabled. but yes in terms of this being interesting for musicians i only see it as a multi touch midi controller with a large screen. and for that at 499 USD plus tax plus app its still cheaper than a lot of options, but not mind boggelingly slow, especially if it means relying on wifi/bluetooth during your performance.

    hackers might also enable direct access to the files from itunes. but you can then still only use the stereo and not connect a more capable usb soundcard. however with direct access to the files it could in theory become capable to serve as a song preparation tool. as in you load up some app which enables you to set cue points etc. and then have it some how synced up with your laptop’s library.

  • deeco

    don’t forget that NI and Serato would have to make Iphone App versions of their software in order for you to DJ since you won’t be able to install 3rd party software anyway else but through the app store(unless you jail break the thing of course).

    I see this device more as a Lemur killer and an opportunity for a great dj or DAW controller.

  • Armando

    Can it not send midi data from the 30 pin to USB? Or is that limited only to iTunes? If 3rd party apps on osx and winnie can reverse the data on an iPod, why not an ipad? No transfer of wifi or bt business.

  • Vinicius Hoffmann

    can we use the iPad touchscreen to our controller mods?
    When the screens arrive the ebay as rep parts can we use it with arduino for example?

  • Jan

    Re: No SDK access to iTunes library
    It’s true you can play songs from the iTunes library in other apps just like on the iPhone, but there’s still no file-level access to the songs, which means no messing around with them (e.g. a simple pitch change is impossible).
    Everyone file a feature request at already. Who knows, maybe they’ll change their mind some day.

  • Pete

    I recently purchased a MacBook Pro 13in …. Do I have a Solid State HD? All this rukus about SSHD…hey man if DJTT says jump i say how high. The knowledge base your feeding us is then best on the web right now. Keep up the articles and shut down DJTT to new DJS…haha jk.

  • Krome

    Yea, besides the “small” issue that it’s running on ARM chips… Considering how “energetic” NI is when it comes to porting, you better don’t hold your breath for an iPad-Traktor ^^

  • Anonymous

    Waste of Time and money… i see no point in creating a iPad.

    Just simply make a 10 inch notebook (with a touch screen) with core two duo 2.1 gig processor and i’d be happy!

  • NZ

    This concept is my dream since first Traktor versions! But this thing is useless without audio interface) You cant mix with no Cueing. U can, but its “Ableton prepared set”(you know this guys who make a mix at home and just turn Delay-send knob in club). You know all this apps for the iphone – interface is ok, but useless.

    I think, iPad is ok to support Hakintosh, someone will surely port it, so all we need is 30pin-to-USB bridge. Produce one and youll be able to buy a house in Miami)

    So, my dream is not done. Its only a wifi controller for now.

  • Breakz

    lets better wait for the PC clones from DELL,Hp,Msi etc,they will be probably running WinXP/7 and will feature usb and stuff,i like Ipad only because it will push the whole market to that direction,to the direction i’ve been waiting for, at last!!!!

  • ChrisPop

    All I’m waiting for is for some kind of software and adapter kit that will allow you to connect this to any computer (lets say your macbook pro, so it would most likely plug into both the Mini DisplayPort and USB Port in order to use the Screen function and the Touch Function of the iPad), and will allow you to use it as not only a second screen for your computer, but a touch surface. I would buy the lowest priced iPad in a heartbeat then. No other touch screen interface can beat this touch sensitivity and price that I know of currently, let alone it also can be used as an iPod, Web Browser etc for its normals functions…

    If people are just looking for a Macbook tablet running a full OS system, check out Axiotron’s Modbook, that has been out forever.

  • Lundmark

    Are you sure you can’t access the iTunes library on the iPad? This API was one of the new things in iPhone OS 3.0 and AppStore apps have been utilizing since. Lots of apps like games can pull music from the iPod app on the iPhone.

  • holotropik

    I agree with Dave!

    But I am also looking at this as a creative interface that I can use to make some cool sounds for tracks and maybe even trigger some one-shots or something on top of a set…

    I like the apps I have for the iPhone that I can chuck into my Korg ESX for live sets etc and the iPad would hopefully add further possibilities here.

  • Dave

    I currently use an app called “Sonorasaurus” (search on Google) on the iPhone for impromptu Dj “moments”. It is a fully touch screen enabled and totally useable two deck platform, with effects and beat matching in the old school style with a split headphone mix. It would not take much development work to turn it into a very useful program, with the increased processor power etc to run waveforms, set more cue points and looping, or more decks.

    Given the size of the iPad, the touch screen real estate would be much larger, more functional and a one box “in the box” solution. If you need louder signal output, take a small mixer, and you’re done.

    I personally hate using a laptop, but I don’t want to carry two 1200’s, mixer etc etc around. It won’t be long, if the iPad platform takes hold, before someone builds the majority of what we need into such a device. The integration of the controller and software into one box is where it would be great to go, touching the software directly, rather than lugging around extra controllers. Software engineering interfaces as layouts, rather than hardware interfaces with overlays will facilitate much more portable, performance friendly interfaces.

    Just my two cents 😉

  • superfly

    The problem I see with using this as a touch controller with TouchOSC is the need to have the wireless network on, which at least for me when using my iPhone, has caused audio drop outs.

    Still would like to try it though.

  • paxman

    I think the iPad is a great product for what it is, and they will sell well. The complainers that are predicting a fail for Apple are the same idiots that claimed the iPhone and the MacBook Air would be failures too. However… having said all that, I also was hoping for a different kind of tablet, one that was closer to a laptop than an iPhone. Therefore, I likely will be waiting for future, more powerful and connectable generations of the iPad before I buy one.

  • Jeditekk

    Certainly not what I was hoping for. I thought maybe the ipad would have been a toned down version of the mac os. No USB, no memory expansion and no multi-tasking. Definitely the ipod touch’s bigger, not that smarter brother. I am definitely dissapointed in Apple.

  • ovv

    In it’s current form, the iPad would make a sweet lemur-wannabe controller with the TouchOSC-program. Working with TouchOSC on the smaller iPhone (and iPod Touch) screens is more of a gimmick, but with the iPad I think it would definitely be a good control-surface for those looking for a more affordable touch-based setup or additional controller.

    I see it highly likely that the creators of the app will update it to take advantage of the iPads features and kind of want to get the device just based on this.