By Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
First, if you’re not up on Audiobus yet, see introductions to the topic in April, when the idea first started floating around; and earlier this month, when Apple approved Audiobus for apps sold in iTunes.
The concept in a nutshell: Audiobus will let iOS apps on the same iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch zap audio back and forth between them in real time (FAQ). It should eventually let the audio get zapped between multiple iOS devices in the same room, too, according to the impressively-named Audiobus developer Michael Tyson.
The London-based Audiobus announced on Monday morning, “There are now more than 500 developers who have signed up and expressed interest in the Audiobus API.”
As one might expect, the first developers to take advantage of this functionality will be the people who build instruments and music production apps, because Audiobus has the potential to turn the iPhone and other iOS devices into little recording studios — record the guitar here, record the drums there, and pipe the whole thing into a recording app. So far, these six developers are working on implementing Audiobus:
These are all apps for playing (as in creating) music, but the implications of being able to pass real-time audio from app to app go beyond music creation apps. Even if you’re not a musician (or trying to act like one), Audiobus could affect your life on iOS. Hypothetically speaking, you could listen to music in one Audiobus-capable app, identifying the songs using an audio fingerprinting app, and then scrobbling the results to Last.fm or Facebook, regardless of whether the app officially supports Facebook or Last.fm. Or you could take a playlist in one app, add your own voice talking in between songs, and send the result to a third app and broadcast it to your friends.
Those familiar with Apple might wonder why it would approve a third-party protocol to function as the glue between music apps, because that would appear to be an iOS-level sort of function. However, it still gets to approve each and ever app sold in iTunes, and if someone else wants to figure out how to make this work, why not?
After all, the more apps you run at the same time (as Audiobus clearly encourages), the faster processor you need in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Audiobus includes a “self-repairing” method for reconstructing audio lost when an iOS device can’t keep up, but ultimately, the newer, faster devices will work more smoothly for zapping audio between apps with Audiobus.
iPhone 6, anyone?