The BOSS Pedal Sketch application, a free download today for iPhone and iPod touch, probably isn’t what you think it is – but it is a novel concept in mobile apps, and a sign of some of the new ideas to be explored.
If your first thought was that this is a handheld set of virtual stompboxes, as we’ve seen recently from the likes of IK Multimedia, you’d be wrong. (That’s okay, that’s what I thought at first glance, too.) Of course, as I’ve observed before, while these apps are cool for practice sessions, they’re no replacement for hardware – not until we have phones you can stomp on comfortably.
What BOSS Pedal Sketch actually is is a handheld, digital notebook for remembering your stomp setups. Find a routing and settings you like, and then record them on your mobile, down to where the knobs were. Use a mic (built-in on iPhone, or external on iPhone/iPod) to record audio and remember later what a rig sounds like. Take photos with the camera.
The result is – uh, how shall we say, this charitably – a bit specific. I can’t imagine a guitar player who exclusively owns BOSS pedals. Whoever you are – you, with BOSS sales posters you stole at NAMM pasted above your bed so you can stare at them – you’re welcome. Go enjoy. But I thought it was worth posting as a separate story because it is a unique idea. (I’m also assuming that’s why this wasn’t emphasized by Roland US in today’s announcements.)
That said, of course, I’d probably just make some quick notes in a mobile app like (my own personal favorite) Evernote. Many of those work on alternative platforms, too, in case you don’t have an iPhone. (Memo to mobile app developers: native is cool, but looking at the features here, this could also be a Web app.)
And it does raise some interesting questions, too, like the best way to provide handheld access to settings via MIDI or (ideally, for more futuristic devices) even wirelessly with Bluetooth. So, at least it’s free, and someone will use it, I’m sure, but I’m going to mostly take it as an indication of more useful things to come.