Adding hardware to tablets, as it has with decades of computing technology, can open up new worlds for software and music. It can animate a conventional piano, or provide new physical interfaces for touching music. But let’s not wait for it to happen; let’s get hacking.
Following on today’s line of thinking about hardware-augmented touch, I’d like to look a bit at the recently-transformed landscape on Android. iOS users can connect to external hardware via the Core MIDI protocol or, via official channels, through the Apple Dock Connector. That’s not a perfect situation, however. Hardware developers have to be approved through the Made for iPod program in order to make accessories, there’s no standard class support apart from MIDI, and while Bluetooth can connect you to other iPads, you can’t connect arbitrarily with hardware via Bluetooth. (At least, that’s what I’ve found speaking with iOS developers, though some Bluetooth gamepads appear to work, possibly because they simply act as keyboards). WiFi wireless connection is also a possibility, one I expect will continue to be exploited.