iPhone 2.0: Producer’s preview

By Francis Preve

It’s no exaggeration to say that next week’s iPhone announcements have the world at the edge of its collective seat.

While we have no way of knowing exactly which apps will be available via Apple’s new iPhone App Store, it’s safe to say that music creation tools will be represented in one form or another.

So, with a tip of the hat to Peter Kirn’s wonderful Create Digital Music blog, here’s the Beatportal roundup of music apps in development for the iPhone.

MooCowMusic Band

As you can see in the above YouTube video, MooCowMusic’s Band looks to be the most advanced music creation tool in the iPhone pipeline.

Sporting multitrack sequencing and overdubbing, its possible to create fairly elaborate doodles between phone calls and text messaging.

Preset instruments include drums, bass, guitar and keyboards, as well as the ability to roll your own instruments – provided you’re willing to tackle the text-file format for creating these presets.

You can even adjust the attack, release and panning of the instruments in Band.

And of course, if you want to groove along to your MP3s as you play along, that’s an option too.


According to the website, IR-909 is an iPhone drum machine inspired by the legendary Roland TR-909.

Making use of the iPhone’s accelerometer, you can change the character of IR-909’s drums by pressing a parameter and tilting the phone.

The current beta, version 3, now includes samples from Roland’s TR-606, TR-707, TR-808, as well as the original TR-909.

This one looks like a must-have groove sketchpad for producers of all types.

iPhone Synth

Also from, the iPhone Synth is a TB-303 style synth-plus-sequencer with a delightfully minimal interface.

In addition to a sixteen-step sequencer, you can change the length of each note event, and better still, you can choose oscillator waveform (square, saw or noise) and filtering for each step.

Combine these two apps, and the iPhone could be a serviceable alternative to Propellerhead’s groundbreaking ReBirth software.

Pocket Guitar

Pocket Guitar is one of the first music apps to be developed for the iPhone and it’s truly innovative indeed, provided you understand the essentials of fretted instruments.

Pocket Guitar functions in either left- or right-handed orientation and you can even edit the position and spacing of the frets to accommodate a variety of hand sizes.

The above YouTube video demonstrates this remarkable app far better than any description I could provide.


Another potentially impressive drum machine app on the horizon is Beatphone from Spanish musician, l-lusio.

As it stands now, Beatphone includes nine one-shot pads, six loop-pads, support for both WAV and AIFF, and full 16-bit/44.1k fidelity.

Future features include the ability to start and stop playback, loop stretching, and a landscape-mode sequencer/arranger.

These specifications – if implemented correctly – could spawn a baby version of Ableton Live.

Now that would be something indeed.

MixMeister Scratch

Heralded as “The Original SJ Scratch Tool for iPod Touch and iPhone,” MixMeister Scratch looks to be a super-cute toy to amuse your friends and annoy your parents.

Or vice versa.

Via the touchscreen, you can either scratch solo or layered over an actively playing MP3 in your iPhone library.

Unfortunately, you can’t scratch MP3s in your library.

Instead, you choose from a menu of included samples and wiggle your finger to demonstrate your mad turntablist skillz.

The ultimate value of this app depends on whether MixMeister will eventually allow users to load their own scratch samples.

Time will tell…


While some are calling it vapourware, there’s actually a Google Code page with yet another beatbox.

As you can see in the image to the right, his one is clearly inspired by Akai’s hardware MPC500 and hey, it’s got the same darn name.

But with features like the ability to use samples from your iTunes library, along with something called “pad preview looping” (huh?), this virtual MPC looks mighty interesting – if it’s real.

The wait continues…

All will be revealed in the coming weeks, but it sure looks like there’s going to be a slew of fun and more importantly, useful, iPhone apps in the coming months.

The big question remains: Will major manufacturers develop even more powerful tools as the iPhone further entrenches itself into the mainstream?

One tantalizing glimpse of what’s possible can be found here.

As these products hit the market, you can be assured we’ll be testing them out in future Beatportal blogs.