Electric Zoo - The Glitch Mob

The Lemur, seen here onstage with The Glitch Mob, rides off into the sunset.

It’s not so often that I write obituaries for hardware, but this time, it seems appropriate. JazzMutant has announced that its Lemur, the multi-touch hardware controller, is officially at the end of its life.

Their announcement:

Since 2002, JazzMutant has been a acknowledged pioneer in the field of Creative Computing and Multi-touch technology, being the first-ever company to develop and bring to the market a product featuring a multi-touch screen as early as 2005. Since its market launch, the Lemur has been endorsed by a fascinating community of music and video artists. Nine Inch Nails, Richard Devine, Hot Chip, Ritchie Hawtin, Matthew Herbert, M.I.A, Mike Relm, Alva Noto, Ryuchi Sakamoto, Daft Punk, Bjork, … : The list of prestigious and influent artists who have made the Lemur their favorite pet companion on stage would be way too long to be mentioned here. Its visionary concept and groundbreaking technologies allowed the Lemur to win numerous international press awards and was recently elected “Innovation of the decade” by Future Music.

During five years and despite the new fever surrounding touch technologies, the Lemur remained the only Multi-touch device capable to meet the needs of creative people. From now on, this ecosystem is evolving quickly : powerful consumer tablet devices are becoming mainstream, bringing the power of multi-touch to everyone. In the meantime, JazzMutant, renamed Stantum in 2007, has become a technology-centric company and developed partnerships with tier-one industrial partners to speed up this democratization. As a result, the need for a high-end dedicated hardware is doomed to vanish in the near future. This is why Stantum is announcing today that it will close its JazzMutant activity unit and stop selling its legendary Lemur Multi-touch hardware controller at the end of December while the stock lasts! The last batch of Lemurs just came out of the factory. These very last units are now available at a special discounted price from JazzMutant’s webstore and from its authorized distributors and retailers. These very last units are now available with 25% discount! Moreover, the Dexter App and an original Lemur T-shirt will come along for free. Don’t miss this last opportunity and grab the legendary Lemur from authorized retailers while the stock last! The Technical support and after sale service will be handled until December 31, 2011. The jazzmutant website will stay online in order to let the user community access support resources and share their projects.

We would like to thank all the people involved in this fantastic adventure: first of all the user community which exceeded our wildest expectations in creating the most amazing templates; our devoted resellers, who helped us to show the Lemurs all over the world; finallymusic software editors for their support.

http://www.jazzmutant.com/press_release.php

None of this is necessarily news. To me, the surprise is that the transition away from a dedicated multi-touch controller to widespread multi-touch took as long as it did. (Well, actually, it isn’t so much of a surprise in retrospect, but perhaps the Lemur made the coming transformation so vivid that I hadn’t thought through just what that transformation would take to come to pass.)

At the end of 2005, writing a review for Keyboard Magazine of the Lemur, I concluded that powerful as touch was, it should be viewed as a complement, not a replacement, for tactile hardware – a tool ideal for certain tasks:

The Lemur is an unusual piece of hardware. Because it rethinks fundamental questions about what music hardware should be, it raises questions we normally take for granted. But it also suggests that conventional hardware interfaces aren’t as arbitrary as one might think.

If anything, I think at the time I wildly underestimated some of the Lemur’s most important contributions:

  • Simple, geometric, high-contrast user interface elements improved legibility and usability.
  • It pointed to physics-driven touch interfaces which still haven’t been fully explored – even by the likes of Apple.
  • It demonstrated how important multiple touch points could be – not just two, or three, but the same number of touch points for which you have fingers.
  • It led adoption of OpenSoundControl (OSC), leading to more intelligently-labeled controls, network-based control schemes (whether Ethernet or WiFi), and higher-resolution data.
  • It showed the usefulness of floating point control precision, particularly in the visual space.

But more importantly, in my Keyboard story I said I felt that the Lemur would ultimately be replaced by computers that had touch, rather than dedicated touch controllers:

There’s no question that multi-touch touchscreens represent the future of computer interfaces, and the Lemur is the biggest leap yet toward that science fiction future. For now, the challenge is that the Lemur’s features lie somewhere between a computer display and music controller, without effectively supplanting either one. The Lemur sacrifices the sensitivity and tactile feedback of physical controls in the name of flexibility, but that payoff is limited by the restrictions of its pre-built interface objects and the difficulty of configuring new layouts and assigning them to software controls.

If the Lemur could be truly fused with the computer display, rather than requiring an entirely independent interface, it would become a must-buy. Until that happens, the Lemur could be a worthy acquisition if you need more flexible control of parameters like timbre and surround sound, or want a programmable interface you can touch, and can afford paying a premium for emerging technology. But for most of us, less-expensive and more musical physical hardware will remain the preferred way of interacting with the virtual worlds of computer sound.

In fact, in one odd sense, the Lemur’s separation of control from sound source has hindered the fusion of sound and interface on devices like the iPad; control surfaces remain arguably more popular than dedicated musical instruments and production tools that take advantage of the new touch paradigm.

mini studio

Lemur’s heir – TouchOSC and iPad, coupled with tactile interfaces – the new combination for music performance. As a replacement for the object in the background, it doesn’t make much sense. But as a replacement for the computer screen and mouse, it’s a no-brainer. Image (CC-BY-SA) Taco Ekkel.

I imagined that the fusion of touch displays with computers was a couple of years off; it was actually closer to six years. It really took the debut of Apple’s iPad this year – some five years after the Lemur’s introduction – for us to see the computer fused with the touch interface. And I think the year of the tablet is more likely to be 2011, as Windows, Linux (MeeGo and Ubuntu), Android, and presumably Chrome tablets all hit the marketplace. (True, we’ve seen computers with touch, but they’ve all made compromises that prevented them from even matching the Lemur, either in sacrificing performance, adding cost, losing multiple touch points and resolution, or some combination.)

Some of the coming models will seem more like conventional computers with touch displays, others more like tablets in the mold of the iPad.

What remains to be seen is whether we’ll see Stantum’s technology – technology derived from the Lemur – in some of those devices. (See my April interview with JazzMutant’s co-founder.) No new information there. Update – it bears saying, based on what I see in comments: we already know that there are a lot of tablets and touch-equipped laptops and specialized devices coming to market in 2011 and beyond. There are more devices, from what I’ve seen, than there are vendors of touch technologies. That makes this a very desirable marketplace, and could explain why JazzMutant are in no hurry to open source their code. It’s a safe bet that Stantum is still making a play for that enormous market, with everything from general consumer electronics to specialized gear for certain industries in the mix (and not just music). I don’t have any new information, but I expect when they’re able to make something public, you’ll know.

As for the Lemur touchscreen, though, it is now committed to computing history. The present is, primarily, the iPad, and the future, from Apple and others, offers multitouch as inexpensively and seamlessly integrated with computing hardware as the trackpad, keyboard, and mouse have been in the past. The knob, the piano keyboard, strings and frets, and other tactile interfaces live forever, but touchscreens can at least be powerful options for the digital realm between tactile musical control and composition, as a more direct way to reach out and touch interactive interfaces for sound.

  • http://soundcloud.com/six-fingered-chyld six.fingered.chyld

    eh……$1200 dollars for a computer peripheral to make music at home?…or…$1200 dollars as a down payment for a used vehicle (multi purpose, tangible, multi touch).

    I ain't mad…

    uc33e and my lanchpad baby!!!

  • http://noisepages.com/members/waffletower/ Christopher Penrose

    The JazzMutant Lemur was a huge inspiration to me, and I never touched one. While it is auspicious to keep the limitations of current touch interfaces in mind, tactile feedback and greater sensitivity may be coming to them soon. You have noticed some interesting developments yourself Peter:

    http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/05/roger-linn-

    But even so, I think the musical possibilities of existing touch interfaces have only begun to be explored. TouchOSC largely offers a highly configurable array of simulated analog controls — but amazing gestural control is available, particularly for multitouch devices, that dare to venture away from simulation and embrace the fluid control afforded by these interfaces.

  • Peter Kirn

    Oh yeah, I should say, that's only a feature of conventional resistive and capacitive touchscreens … and resistive touchscreens, as noted in the earlier interview, can even do pressure. (Not quite the same as tactile feedback in that you still have an undifferentiated surface, but certainly more expressive.)

    Note that part of the reason I emphasized the gap, though, in the Keyboard story was price. I think at one point I read a reviewers' guide (not for Keyboard, as I recall) that told reviewers not to cover price at all. But it does figure into how you weight things. The fact that, when it debuted, you had to pay about five times as much for the Lemur to give up tactile feedback certainly made for a different equation. ;)

    Now that tablets are settling into this $500 price point, that's a different ballgame… and it means you can have the tablet next to your physical controller because you'll have money left over!

  • Deep Purmanan

    Whilst the Lemur has been discontinued, the code and tactile control system are not dead and will not die anytime soon if at all.

    JazzMutant blazed a trail and Lemur still has functions way beyond most controllers, touch or not.

    I myself never wanted one but I can see how inspirational it is for performers especially non musicians.

  • count.cholo

    What's the likelihood of seeing another dedicated touch device?

  • Peter Kirn

    @count.cholo: Depends on what you mean by dedicated device. The thing is, you need a fair amount of horsepower to run the touchscreen — meaning you're likely to have enough horsepower to run audio applications on the same device. And how many people would spend $500 (or more) on a dedicated touch controller if they could get one that, like the iPad, doubles as a sound source?

  • http://http//routeit.noisepages.com gbsr

    a smart choice would be to continue to develop applications for multitouch devices. that way the lemur dies but the jazz mutants still stay in business. say what you want about the lemur, but the os is just brilliant.

  • Nine

    HOOORAY! Dead at last! Death to expensive hardware! :)

  • 23fx

    i thought they would stay a bit longer…

    still no true multitouch portable monitor, why?

    that's very loooong to come..fed up whith wait

    stantum please damned bring one of your SMK to an open lemur real monitor and

    bring cost down to descent levels, it would

    be still the best music controllers, with

    pressure, and real Os choice.

  • Jazzmoron

    As an owner Im filled with anger. The editor is still buggy (and will never be fixed now) and now I wont be able to sell this even for 30% of what I paid new. I even bought the Dexter upgrade (slamms head against wall). And I bought this last year… Yeah I know i was stupid.

    Their information policy was a shame for the last few weeks.

    But, Ok I will learn . The only expensive Hardware ever again will be analogue stuff that can be repaired by every experienced tech on the world.

  • vanceg

    Sure would be nice if they made that software available for the iPad. Sure, TouchOSC is great and all..but there are some significant features that the Lemur software had (pull down menus, Multi-point x/y pads, physics emulation) that would be nice to have on the iPAD.

  • Jazzmoron

    There not even considering making the software open source, so basically it will be useless in about 1,5 years.

  • haha

    I know some losers that bought one of these months after the iPad came out, they didnt take my advice

    they wasted $2500 on a dead platform / interface

    meanwhile the iPad is getting an OS + Midi update in 2 weeks…

    and Touch OSC is already rocking my Logic DAW

  • Paul

    Oh well..

    NEXT!!

  • griotspeak

    Wow, we are all pretty negative. It kinda sucks to see them 'close shop,' but it sounds like they will still be working. That is good news. No open source is a bummer though. A big bummer.

  • teej

    I'm hoping the no open source thing might be an indication of them releasing a commercial version of the software side of things. I'd happily pay up for a Lemur iPad app/desktop editor combo. Hell, I might even pay $100 for it. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but I can't imagine they aren't considering it. The hardware was lovely, but the software was the soul of the whole thing. Would be great to have on iPad or whatever.

  • http://www.stackinpaper.com Keebs

    @Peter – Any word on the top secret project that the Stantum guys were working on the last time you talked to them? I've been waiting for another announcement from them… but expected it to include a new product, not the just the discontinuation of the Lemur. This article doesn't even hint of things to come…?

  • Peter Kirn

    I have no new information. Note added above…

  • http://music-interface.com mat

    Thats a pitty to hear :(

    Anyway…. I had (have!) a nice time with my Lemur. I still love to cuddle it.

    I think it always was a proof of concept…and therefore it made a good job. Lets not forget about the name "Lemur"….they only live in Madagaskar, a really nische, how ever, THEY STAID ALIVE TILL NOW.

    Don´t give up, all users out there.

    Company is (nearly) dead, but your creativity is still alive, make the best out of it…..

    Now I hope other editors for touchscreens spped up to truly match this dinosaur. TouchOSC is great, but misses some essential features: many objects (range!!!!), controlable physics, programable movements, light interaction (independent from on/off) ect….

    @Peter

    Guess it is to late to mention my sequencomatV3.2 (with new random features)? Damn…
    http://www.tonvibration.de/SequencomatV3.html

  • frz

    The only lesson in this : electronic music is not viable if the instruments only last a few years.

    Can you imagine a rocker having to change and learn a new instrument every 5 years.

    So, I will keep my setup as minimal and cheap as possible now (I have a Lemur).

    No more update of software, and os (actually, computers are so powerful, it seems there are all the better studios from the 70's and all the collection of hardware inside. And much more).

    I stop asking for more software or plugs or blablabla.

    There is much more than anyone would need to make music in those machines !

  • frz

    And stop trusting companies (companies are in it for money, not for art. We should never forget this).

  • griotspeak

    @frz you don't really have to stop using your Lemur do you? I think that the Lemur will be a pretty good example of the opposite of what you are describing because it is unto itself. You don't really install its software on anything except the Lemur. It communicates via standard hardware with a semi-standardized protocol (that is pretty darn entrenched).

    If i had the money and if the software were more open, i would consider grabbing a Lemur (funny sentence, that).

  • frz

    @griotspoeak : of course I will not stop using my lemur.

    But without the software (jazzeditor), you can not develop your own setup on the Lemur (wich basically, is what make the Lemur interesting).

    So, yes, the Lemur is still ok for a while.

    But now, I have to wait for the osx update that will kill the software, and so, the Lemur too.

    Honestly, what makes me hangry is not that jazzmutant is saying stop. But they should release jazzeditor code as open-source. So that, we would not be playing music with a gear that can die tomorrow.

  • Mckenic

    Never played with one but always found the concept an inspiration. It is is very sad to see a true innovator leave the field.

    I feel for the customers who were hoping for continued support and development. Hope the team moves on to new products that will change the game the way the Lemur initially did. Best of luck to them all!

  • yo

    is there a way to get touch osc editor to run on a lemur? or would that have to be a trade off between jazzmutant and the touchosc kids?

  • DoYourResearch

    For everybody whining about Jazzeditor not being made open source, bear in mind that everything you need to build your own editor has been published on the Jazzmutant site since a very long time:
    http://www.jazzmutant.com/download_lemur_prog.php

    In the 'Programmers Corner'. So instead of complaining, do something about and get coding?

  • http://www.synthwerks.com ersatzplanet

    This is SO familiar. The same thing happened to me when Clavia decided to stop producing the Nord Modular G2. The Nord community has been trying to get them to open source the G2 editor (or at least fix the bugs present). Nothing is going to change there either. Lots of people are now with hardware that is depreciating and all it will take is an OS update and the current editors won't work – it has happened once already with the last Mac OS update breaking it and that sat for a long time till it was finally updated to work – not again though.

  • http://www.authenticfilms.com Charles

    Why would anyone think conventional hardware interfaces were "arbitrary"? Their design is usually very deliberate. Or did you mean conventional *generic* interfaces (eg, MIDI controllers)? Even those aren't so much arbitrary as fixed.

  • Joseph

    @ersatzplanet

    And the first nord modular!

    I now have the same fate with the Lemur..

    Whilst you could argue that it still does the same thing as it did when I bought it it is not a very comforting thought that I am once again at the mercy of OS updates that will make using it a real pain in the not too distant future..

    It's ironic that the main selling point of both of these machines, ie. seamless integration with PC based editors will be the thing that kills them. – The last "stable" version of the nord modular editor runs only in mac OS 9!

    It's a shame computers don't age with the same grace as analogue synths!

  • mark seagraves

    Wow- so never mind the people that paid a premium for Lemurs and invested a lot of time into developing for the box, Stantum has it's cash and patents and is moving into the mass market OEM game. Even though it was the artists that helped build Jazz Mutant, I guess they can ssip off now then eh?

  • http://www.authenticfilms.com Charles

    ersatzplanet: that's a major part of the reason I never got one. Obsolescence is a real problem in electronic music.

  • Greg

    Obsolescence is only a problem if you insist on buying DRM'ed computers.

    I feel absolutely no sympathy for people who own Jazzmutants.

    You bought a computer that runs broken proprietary software and trusted a company to fix it later, and now you *can't* fix it yourself.

    I hope the same thing happens to all you "mobile device" early adopters when we have computers with terabytes of RAM as wristwatches in 10 years.

  • Jamsire

    Well, I don't feel stupid and I don't need pity or sympathy – why? Because what I use my Lemur for is personal and it works! Ableton – perfect for me, Reaktor – perfect for me, etc. So what I paid what I paid for it – WHO CARES! I am not mad and I feel like I AM in an elite group who just love the thing. I taught a workshop in new ways to use music technology in the classroom tonight and the students loved the Lemur and the different screens and layouts on it.

    For all of you who think those us who spent the money have "made a mistake or lost money" – get over >>us<< and carry on with making music – cause that's what I'm doing. Thanks!

  • LeMel

    Not sure what all the venom is for. The bleeding edge product always has a price premium and a longevity risk attached, and we all know this. It's not a clandestine concept. Sad news, but predictable (as many did). They blazed a wonderful trail in the UI space.

  • Damon

    Is a bummer. Too bad they could not have stuck around and translated the premise into some other form that would not specifically have had to compete with the ipad. Clearly the invested all their cash and expertise into those 2 products, but if they could have survived the sudden ipad influx financial burden, I feel there are inventive new products based on that technology that could have and would have kept the company afloat and prosperous. I just hope they can in some incarnation make it back into the game.

    Blessings,

    Damon

  • HEXnibble

    The way they handled this is just a huge FAIL. Lots of angry Lemur owners over at the Jazzmutant forums:

    http://forum.jazzmutant.com/viewforum.php?f=7

  • Peter Kirn

    A number of themes here:

    1. Obsolescence in terms of digital instruments in general

    2. Obsolescence in terms of specific support for hardware *or* software (each with its own implications)

    3. The question of whether code is made open source

    4. The question (as the comment DoYourResearch suggests) of whether protocols can be reimplemented

    5. Cost, investment, value

    Obviously, people are emotional, which I understand. These are different issues. Anyone who's had difficulty getting hardware repaired knows that obsolescence can apply to physical goods, not just software, so I can't put too much stock in that argument — both hardware and software have a wide range of long-term scenarios for viability, compatibility, support, repair. But I think beneath the passions here are some important issues to consider.

  • Peter Kirn

    Also, as for JazzMutant launching an iPad app — note that JazzMutant alums did. That'd Liine.

  • AB

    I really sorry this, but I have to say lemur is an unique controller for the purpose I bought it "years ago" [Sound Design] and not on/off clips on ableton live (with all y respects)if I were to do this, to be honest I would be buying a launchpad or similar, even a regular midi keyboard of 70$ imho

    I also understand the fustration from new lemur users too.

    I am not going to sell my lemur, so I would be creating more stuff, new stuff are in way indeed. The lemur is still capable of many interesting things if you can live with some bugs, I do.

    For those are interested in REAKTOR/LEMUR you'll find until 9 FREE PROJECTS here,That is why I bought the lemur, to have a "clone" of my favorite reaktor ensembles

    http://absoundscapes.blogspot.com/

    I've tried to recreate some of them on iPad, but very complex ensembles like newscool or L3 seems really an impossible job so far, to me at least.

    Peace,

  • http://www.myspace.com/gliiitches Leon Tricker

    Call me stupid, but I prefer to have controllers that connect physically to my laptop with a lead.

    I'm sure the iPad works fine, but my experiments with an iPod touch have not gone well – jumping parameter changes and connection dropouts.

  • class action lawsuit

    If jazzmutant don't fix the bugs, let's sue them.

  • Vaihe

    @ Leon: iPad can be connected with usb to run network, but it requires jailbreaking it. I have had no problems using wifi with TouchOSC live, but will investigate will the USB connection make it more stable.

  • class action lawsuit

    actually, let's just sue them before december 31st to GUARANTEE they fix the bugs.

  • http://www.myspace.com/fwprojekt FW Projekt

    I invite everyone of Lemur's users to claim with me future updates for Jazz Editor and Jazz Daemon from Stantum, in order to keep our Lemur alive through future update of windows and Mac Os X. Or the second option would be to release Jazz editor and Jazz Daemon in the open source world.

    Lemur users can join me on my online petition at jazzmutant forum :

    http://forum.jazzmutant.com/viewtopic.php?t=3194

    and join my facebook group : Keep our Lemur alive !

  • Random Chance

    Sad to see this go. It was too expensive for me to begin with and I have been burned by hardware that was no longer supported so once I switched to Mac OS X (as opposed to an old Windows or Mac OS version) I had no working editor anymore, so I held off. Glad I did. But that is about the only positive thing I can say about this. I hope we'll see some decent tablets that can really replace a Lemur. The iPad is still a little on the small side for me to be considered worth the money. But maybe Apple comes out with a bigger version and allows me to save files from the onboard Safari to the tablet for reading later so I don't need 3rd party software for this most basic activity. Well, maybe another manufacturer will come out with a great tablet, perhaps with WebOS? Would like to see how that fares against the mighty Apple competition which apparently was able to kill off even professional music gear.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Leon Tricker:

    No, I tend to agree. I do think we'll gradually see tablets add hard-line connections. The Samsung Galaxy Tab, for instance, does have this PDMI port that already has a pinout for USB3. Now, there isn't actually software to talk to that (or most of the I/O on the Tab, oddly), but it seems only a matter of time before OSes do pick up support. That actually leaves Apple as the tablet with the proprietary connector, but then, we've even seen them add some USB classes, and that's working today, so by the time their rivals get their act together, who knows…

    Any of these connections could serve as a stand-in for Lemur's Ethernet, as a transport for OSC, and other things, too.

  • 23fx

    As soon as there will be a descent real monitor

    or tablet with video in, to remote W7

    Usine will make a perfect low cost, more open

    and more powerfull, with quasi no limits lemur.

    can't wait to see a challenger coming…

  • prevolt

    AB! Thanks!!

    I just finally got Reaktor this year. All the work you've done with templates is seriously amazing.

    I've really enjoyed having a Lemur, and I found myself pretty frustrated with Jazzmutant at different times, too. They didn't really handle anything about developing it very well once they got it out into the world, but at least they got it out into the world.

    Ultimately, you got out of it what you put in design and time-wise, with the occasional thrill/leap forward that came with finding crazy new templates & ideas from people like Andreas, Mikael, Bjorn, Bryant, Antonio, and a few others. Endless audioptical psychonautic expeditions to be had (and the parser re-tought me math, too).

  • enomis

    simple example of market competition and supply and demand…

  • prevolt

    ..apparently it didn't help with spelling, though.

    Thinking it over some more, the way I feel let down by jazzmutant is a result of how they just pathologically couldn't follow through. They were first by YEARS with all of this. There was tons of anticipation and fascination generated by all their different introductions to musicians and the public, with Daft Punk and Bjork and so many others featuring them so prominently. Years later, only a handful of people read their EOL announcement.

    Visiting the forum, there's a wave of anger that reminds me of the one from back when they broke about a year's worth of silence with an epic Lemur promotional countdown that ended with the announcement of a totally different product that had nothing to do with a lot of us. Now that product's just a freebie afterthought, like our forever beta Mu.

    "Lemur" should be as ubiquitious a term for a multitouch controller as a "Strat" is for a style of guitar (whether it's made by Fender or not). They should have claimed and then held on to the design concepts that made the Lemur unique and worked to lead their field, rather than trying the akward diversifications into failed (Dexter) and nebulous (Stantum) new areas.

    Peter said "To me, the surprise is that the transition away from a dedicated multi-touch controller to widespread multi-touch took as long as it did." Every day of that was a missed opportunity for Jazzmutant.

  • http://www.myspcae.com/plyci Plyci

    I am saddened by this news! I can understand that yeah the ipad came out, touch is everywhere and the technology is easily accessible these days but to be brutally honest my lemur has given me the opportunity to do so much more with music and performance. I still think its the most robust live controller out there, i couldn't imagine playing a gig on an iPad from fear of breaking it and the screen gets very greasy if you have sweaty hands! It will be a long time before il use any other touch device as I dont think any of them can handle the pounding they'd get from me at gigs, and the lack of ethernet on the Ipad rings 'connections + latency + software crash' alarm bells! Im happy to embrace the next big thing or the new movement in technology and music, but i believe the lemur is still the head of the pack in terms of live performance using touch!

    Thank you Jazzmutant for an such an inspiring product! I will use mine for many years to come!

  • HEXnibble

    @Leon: Physical USB MIDI connection for iPad is already possible:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Pwa3SbFFE

    And of course, there's the MIDI Mobilizer and just announced iConnectMIDI.

  • HEXnibble

    And USB MIDI on the iPad no longer requires jailbreaking.

  • james

    a shame.

    although ipad meets the lemur on many aspects, am i right in saying that for real performance lemur has the edge for responsiveness/latency?

    unfortunately i get the vibe that now this has happened, nobody is going to contend with apple in making something with performance at the core. and apple do not have any incentive to develop ipad (or similar) on issues like latency which affect niche markets only.

    having said that, if latency is not an issue for you (you're quantizing everything in ableton a-la-glitchmob anyway) then it would be awesome if the software would be ported to ipad.

    yes the lemur may have been proof of concept hardware wise, but software wise it is pioneering and cannot be matched with touchosc.

    to those boo-hooing about end of support and lingering bugs. all sought-after/high quality/boutique/vintage/whatever gear that has ever existed has issues. that's largely the reason that they're 'great'. you do not NEED to update your computers. if you need to keep one back just to look after your lemur then that's how it is. i'm sitting here with a large neve console with windows error messages on the screen for fucks sake. i'm sure they contribute to the sought-after analogue warmth. it all makes work for the working man to do…

  • HEXnibble

    @james: "although ipad meets the lemur on many aspects, am i right in saying that for real performance lemur has the edge for responsiveness/latency?"

    Wrong. iPad has the edge for responsiveness with a much superior capacitive multitouch screen. As for latency, I've never experienced any noticeable latency using it wireless but for those worried about that hardwired usb connection for things like MIDI is already happening. As for Lemur's software, there's nothing there that couldn't be done on iOS. For example, people have been playing with bouncing balls physics on TouchOSC and Max on the iPad for some time now.

  • james

    @HEXnibble

    are you sure about that, i mean i haven't tried side by side, but i'm sure there was a reason i though that…

    yes, i'm sure the lemur software could run on iOS, but it does not currently.

    currently, touchOSC is a good option, but it really is very different. i mean, it's not all bouncing balls, fun to demo at the plebs, but at a gig….

  • steadistone

    Lots of thoughts and feelings on this.

    Mostly, I feel for the users. It has all been said above.

    Second, what of the lofty forward thinking things that were supposed to come out of Stantum which were extolled in Peter's April interview? One got the distinct impression there was going to be an Act II beyond the Lemur.

    This development is really unfortunate.

  • spunkadellic

    there are still people bitchin about the industrial revolution…boo hoo machines….

    the lemour was an overpriced show off toy to begin with

    -i slightly wanted one 4 years ago

  • HEXnibble

    @James: Yes, I'm sure. I've tried both side-by-side. iPad currently has the best multitouch screen technology available, bar none. And iPad's resolution is 1024×768 versus Lemur's 800×600. Not sure why you're doubting the use of iPad at a gig. It's being done just fine.

    And Lemur's software could be running on iPad already but instead Jazzmutant decided to just keep silent and sell as many of Lemurs to unsuspecting customers who didn't know what was really coming. I'm sure all the glowing hype from Peter's April interview with them helped them sell a bunch more than they would have otherwise, considering their total silence and all the suspicion that had been growing since the iPad's launch.

  • Steve Angstrom

    Re: the CDM article in April.

    I'm not a Lemur owner, but what I took from that article was that Stanton saw the Lemur as merely a nice tech demo for their proprietory multitouch screen. Something to sell it to investors and the general markets. They plainly said that small boutique music market was nothing when compared to the riches involved in selling into many giant general OEM markets.

    I saw the writing on the wall right then and there. The world has woken up to multitouch, they no longer need a proof of concept tech demo.

  • Peter Kirn

    @HEXnibble: Wait a sec… I hyped up JazzMutant and sold more Lemurs? That interview mainly focused not on the Lemur but on the technology at Stantum, the OEM technology. For instance:

    "Even as the Lemur gets new features like integration with popular music production and performance tool Ableton Live, Stantum is working to bring the same enabling technologies to other device makers. And even though this is “Create Digital Music,” it’s telling that that technology is showing potential in everything from phones to aviation, not just DJing."

    And then I went on to talk mainly about the OEM tech, specifically asking what would come after the Lemur, showing photos of that OEM tech in the lab.

    Again, what strikes me is the surprise. I said in 2005 that I thought the Lemur was a specialist device and that it'd be replaced by general-purpose displays. Anyone who thinks that's just the iPad, even, obviously hasn't been watching all the consumer news — it's the category *everyone* is focused on right now (though we'll shortly see if that turns out to be wise)

    Now, if I overhyped anything in April, it may have been Stantum's place in the market, but that was more out of surprise to me than anything else — as of April, there weren't many publicly-known products for OEMs to add touch capabilities. Since then, we've seen the Atmel touch tech, which I think is very competitive, and which performs really well on things like the Samsung Galaxy line. The edge Apple has on that product has less to do with hardware sensing and more that I think the iOS touch APIs are better developed.

    But my underlying point then, and in 2005, was that touch was clearly going to be a major interface for computing. Even by April, I was hardly going out on a limb with that idea.

    As for Lemur… JazzMutant is keeping support running through 2011. In tech terms, that's a long time, so we'll see what happens with the group of folks still using them.

  • andyschm

    Capacitive touch screens can only measure distance, not pressure. For light touch this is a correlate of pressure for forces up to the compression limit of the cutaneous finger tip.

    I would generally argue that a resistive approach is superior in most respects–spatiotemporal resolution, lack of interference problems, enables use of non-conductive objects (stylus etc). The UnMousePad is a good example of what this tech can do.

  • lluis

    Whoa, Peter, what a redesign! Digging this very much!

  • Matt Gnarly

    The new site looks great! 

  • Axel

    @HEXNibble : 1024×768 is the pixel resolution of the LCD, not sure what this has to do with the actual resolution of the capacitive touchscreen. The iPad touchscreen  also has 16ms latency, so it doesn't beat the Lemur there. You can use nails or a stylus with the Lemur for improved precision.

    Also, try and ping an iPad on a wireless network to measure the network reception latency. I'm measuring varying times up to 50ms to receive OSC packets, compared to only a couple ms on the Ethernet-based Lemur. This makes a difference when you need your device to reflect the state of a high-bpm Reaktor sequencer.

  • leavingtheplanet

    nice new design!

    and beautifull integration of noisepages now.

    very good

  • http://twitter.com/dirtRAID Brand B

    I empathize with the people who bought the Lemur and feel cut off from support, but it is not the end of the world. I keep an older laptop with Windows 98 so that I can write/read and run editors for older samplers.

    When buying something that is OS dependent a person should keep in the mind the cost of tying that hardware.

    This has always happed with electronic musical parts. I have a Sequential Circuits Six Track that never got midi to lfo/arp sync. Plenty of Roland SP series sampler owners having a hard time finding media.. is Roland supposed to keep sustaining a media? 

    The Lemur is still the  best touch interface in many aspects. It is still one of the few controllers that supports OSC broadcasting natively and on board. The response latency and sensitivity is still top in class. It has many unique UI elements not fully replicated elsewhere. It will always be flexible in creating and developing prototype layouts for other hardware interfaces.

    This will also happen to the OHM, and pretty much any other controller on the market at some point. 

    Daft Punk got to use a Lemur, we get Rebirth on an iPad. :)

  • [m]

    I feel for the people who bought Lemurs, especially recently. I fell in love with it several years back but I could never justify the price with my measly income as a grad student, and now that cheaper technology (blah blah iPad blah) exists it would be even harder to justify.  I actually have more respect for JazzMutant for recognizing this and bowing out gracefully now than drawing it out.  If the protocol is as well documented as it appears, enterprising geeks will come up with a open replacement for the editor, and if the editor is as buggy as it sounds, then you're probably better off that way.

    That said…those who bought in to the platform in, say, 2004, got to enjoy a bleeding edge performance technology that to the unwashed masses seemed like pure magic. We were all jealous of you.  That's the pricetag of living in the future before anyone else.

    Also, and I mean this with all due respect, but the notion of hardware obsolescence as a symptom of modern or digital technology is bogus.  Analog hardware?  I love old analog synths too, but seriously, try finding someone nearby who can service a Prophet 5. Try even finding one of the Curtis filter ICs you'd eventually need to replace.  Dude, even Moog Music can't recreate the sound of the original Minimoog exactly, as wonderful as their new offerings are.  I'm not dissing on old hardware at all – there will always be things worth holding onto for their uniqueness, but in the end, isn't part of the excitement of working in a technologically-dense medium the fact that you'll always have something cheaper and more powerful to look forward to?

      

    One might argue that the Lemur offers some unique advantages, hardware-wise, over the iPad, in terms of its specific style of multitouch, the dedicated line to your computer, and so on.  Probably true, but in the long run, it's kind of a non-issue though…the iPad isn't going to be the only general purpose multitouch tablet in town for much longer, and these devices will continue to evolve.  The iPad will get cheaper and cheaper, the display will go up dramatically in resolution, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone came out with a dock connector that alleviates anyone's remaining fears about playing a show where your OSC packets are routed over WiFi.

    I hope Stantum is successful in whatever it is they end up doing, but I really don't see this as anything less than an exciting opportunity to rethink multitouch performance for the future.  Think of it this way – with a Lemur you're ultimately at the mercy of whatever software interface Jazzmutant thinks is most useful, as configurable as it may have been.  If I were Jazzmutant, I'd be thinking really hard about writing a Lemur-branded iPad app right now.  TouchOSC is an amazing piece of work, but as others have already pointed out, it's just the tip of the iceberg.  We can take this stuff way way farther than I think we even realize.

    In conclusion, hackers of the world fan out, etc etc. 

  • Peter Kirn

    Well, and I most definitely don't want to sound unsympathetic — I mean, come on, I'm pretty sure we've all gotten burned now and again, we've all seen stuff reach the end of its life before we may have wanted.  Analog or digital, I hope we find ways of fighting some of that obsolescence. There are physical limits – there will be points when you simply can't repair things any more – but beyond that, I am cautiously optimistic about some of the things we really care about. And other things may not simply be meant to last.

  • neuronaut

    The price point never met the marketplace. They should have sold 4Xs as many at half the price. Before the market caught up.

  • Andy

    It will be interesting to see if in a couple of years the Lemur is going for high prices on eBay, just like Clavia G2s are now.

    I know I am getting another as a backup now, just incase!