The shiny new iOS 4.2 Golden Master was seeded to developers this week. The update most famously brings multitasking to iPad, as well as folders and Game Center, bringing the tablet completely up to speed with its iPhone and iPod touch brethren. Hopefully this is a sign of iOS device unification from this point forward, as fragmentation is one of the things that continues to plague the Android platform. Additionally, 4.2 brings AirPrint wireless printing and AirPlay media streaming to all current-gen devices (sorry iPhone 3G – no printing for you).
As all the aforementioned features have been covered quite extensively already, and are sure to get even more coverage when 4.2 is released to the general public in a week or so, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight one of the great new features of 4.2 that seems to have slipped under the radar. I’m referring to a little something called MIDI.
What’s so exciting about a digital music interface that was invented in the early ’80s? I’ll even admit I may have skimmed past the MIDI APIs added in the first 4.2 beta without so much as batting an eye. But now that it’s here I think the importance of the new framework is setting in. The iPhone and iPad have already gained some attention as music creation tools (if only in novelty), but I believe serious musicians may now start to recognise iOS as a real studio tool. The large touch screen of the iPad makes it a pretty powerful (and extremely flexible) controller. It will be interesting to see what developers come up with using the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope as MIDI input. I’m surprised this feature hasn’t garnered more media attention, but I’m sure it will when we see the first Radiohead album composed entirely on an iPad.