NanoStudio now a Universal iPad-friendly app

NanoStudio on an iPad: now that's something we've been looking forward to seeing.
NanoStudio on an iPad: now that's something we've been looking forward to seeing.

In MusicRadar's book, Blip Interactive's NanoStudio is pretty much the best iPhone music making app there is, so it's no surprise that the clamour for a native iPad version has been growing steadily for months.

Well, the clamourers can now clam up, for NanoStudio 1.3 has just landed in the App Store and brings Universal compatibility. Other new features have been added too, while the price remains at £10.49.

We caught up with NanoStudio developer Matt Borstel, who explained why we've had to wait so long for an iPad version and discussed the possibility of bringing the software to Android.

Why has it taken so long (relative to some other apps) for a native iPad version of NanoStudio to be released?

"The iPad was announced during the development of NanoStudio and I did think about supporting it in the initial release. In the end I decided that it was more important to get the app out there - a not insignificant factor was that I'd given up my day job to develop NanoStudio and my savings were beginning to dwindle!

"After that, other factors seemed to take over. Third party manufacturers started releasing MIDI accessories for iOS and user feature requests came thick and fast, and I decided that although the app didn't look as good as it could on iPad, every feature I added or improved would be of equal benefit to iPad and iPhone users alike. This wasn't necessarily the most popular decision, but it was the least unpopular one and I still feel it was the right one in hindsight.

"Around mid-2011 it felt like NanoStudio's feature set had finally reached a point where supporting the iPad had become the higher priority and there were two possible routes - a short one to simply add support for the iPad's screen resolution or a long one to extend support to any resolution. I opted for the long one since it makes the free desktop version significantly more useful and helps prepare the app for future hardware and platforms."

What are the other key new features in the Universal version?

"The majority of new features in V1.30 are related to the user interface because I was aware that the iPad work would take significant time and didn't want 'feature creep' to push out the release any more than was necessary.

"Amongst other things, these features include alternative musical scales and slide-able position for the keyboard, mixer mute/solo, adjustable audio buffer latency and vertical zoom in the song editor.

"This version also includes an update to Akai's new library which should fix the problems experienced by some SynthStation 25 users since the iOS 5 update."

What are the chances of an Android version of NanoStudio?

"Ah, this question must be at least as old as the infamous 'issue 3434' (you can Google if you don't know what I'm talking about!). From a code point of view the chances are high - it's always been developed as a cross-platform app and the recent changes for iPad mean that it can now support a wide range of display resolutions and aspect ratios.

"A couple of causes for concern are the number of reports about problems with hardware fragmentation and piracy being rife, but it's not worth worrying about these until the problems with the platform's audio latency are addressed. Google have had a few attempts at an audio API but the most recent one still seems to consider 45ms as low latency, and this specification appears to be optional as far as the hardware manufacturers are concerned. I'd like to reserve some time in 2012 to do some R&D on this for myself, but right now I'm not feeling too confident that anything will happen any time soon."

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.