Apple’s Yosemite, iOS 8, and Handoff

Apple-continuity-handoff yosemite handoff DJ

Last night saw Apple unveil its software roadmap for OS X and iOS. The covers were pulled off OS X 10.10 Yosemite and iOS8 to a Moscone Centre filled with thousands of Apple developers, and good number of which were probably wetting themselves at some of the things that were announced. This morning, my mind got to pondering how this brave new world could be translated to real DJ world applications.


Let’s get the basics out of the way first — a good deal of Yosemite is a shift towards a unified OS X/iOS experience. Much of what is new in OS X 10.10 is of no direct use to DJs and producers — nobody will really benefit from changes to Spotlight, Safari or Mail. And this is largely down to how applications have to keep the same look and feel across platforms. I suppose it’s possible for Mac versions to include more of the cosmetic things like transparency to make users feel a little more Mac like, but the UX in DJ software is generally accepted as being unified across OS X, Windows, and Linux.

iOS 8

Detail is still thin on the ground about what’s happening under the hood, but digging through the iOS8 developer bumph, I discovered something called “AV Audio Engine”, that goes as follows:

AV Foundation framework (AVFoundation.framework) adds support for a broad cross-section of audio functionality at a higher level of abstraction than Core Audio. These new audio capabilities are available on both OS X and iOS and include automatic access to audio input and output hardware, audio recording and playback, and audio file parsing and conversion. You also gain access to audio units for generating special effects and filters, pitch and playback speed management, stereo and 3D audio environments, and MIDI instruments.

For more information, see AV Foundation Framework Reference.

There’s a good number of music related buzzwords in there. I’ll let the more programming savvy amongst you out there to pour over the additional content in the link.

iOS 8 and Yosemite together = Handoff

One of the biggest things that came out of yesterday’s announcements for me was what Apple calls Continuity. Essentially this is the technology that allows Macs and iOS devices to work seamlessly together.  I’ve always found them to be a bit locked out of each other, but with Continuity and specifically something called Handoff, you can put one device down and pick up on the other. Imagine being able to run Traktor Pro on your controller, and then pick up your iPad, and walk into the crowd and still be playing exactly the same set – that’s pretty cool.

This could be really cool for apps like algoriddim’s djay. Given that the UX is almost the same between OS X and iOS versions, you could be working on a set on your computer at home, and can continue when you’re out on the road. I don’t know if it’s technically possible of course, but Apple’s desire to make working between Macs, iOS devices and the cloud as integrated as possible. Given that Traktor DJ’s syncing has been problematic, iOS8 could bring the technology they need to make it solid.

So instead of two very different and at times uncommunicative platforms, we could be looking at one big platform, but with different uses, all working seamlessly together. This also looks to further the distance between iOS and Android as professional audio platforms too.

Developers — don’t make us wait

Today is 3rd June, with a loose launch date for Yosemite and iOS8 pitched as Autumn, which I’m generally taking to mean September/October, which gives the multitude of software companies and full three to four months to make sure that their respective applications are Yosemite compatible. This deadline is going to be compounded by the public beta, where even more users than ever will be trying out the next generation for themselves. I don’t think any of us are expecting ground-up rewrites using the new Swift language, but you should be aiming to let us upgrade our OS to enter the brave new world and be safely compatible on launch day. Please don’t keep us waiting.

Now I’m not a developer, so it’s easy for me to pontificate at software companies about pulling their thumbs out. So I would love to hear from the coders and developers responsible for delivering our favourite DJ and music software to explain why it takes a dog’s age after the extensive beta period and official release to offer official compatibility with the latest OS release.

Your Thoughts

Is this good news for DJs and producers? Can you see laptops and tablets seamlessly working together in a DJ environment? Can Android catch up and be considered a player in our industry? Are you a developer who can shed light on why despite lengthy beta programs, software is never officially compatible on launch day?