Image-Line has long promised it’d never make a version of its popular FL Studio – aka Fruity Loops – for Mac desktops. Blame the Windows-centered development tools in which this cult-hit all-in-one production studio is built. But it has found its way to a fruit-themed platform of a different sort, with FL Studio Mobile for iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

Leaked specs and early screenshots have surfaced (apparently unintentionally). That means anything said here could change as the app is developed. (Thanks to readers who tipped us off, though it seems I-L didn’t intend to make this public!)

The app looks cool, but it’s largely FL Studio in name only. You get something like 90 preset instruments (only the attack envelopes are editable), a step sequencer, and pad triggers. There’s also very nice MIDI support, both for Core MIDI and the MIDI Mobilizer, meaning this will work with various MIDI accessories both for the iPhone specifically and more generally with MIDI input. Image-Line also claims they’ve balanced battery life with low latency.

All in all, it looks like a decent on-the-go sketchpad for quick ideas, but hardly a big departure from other apps we’ve seen on mobile. In fact, while it promises the ability to open your projects back in FL on the desktop, you don’t even need to be an FL user – MIDI file export is available, too.

I see some FL Studio users, loyal to a non-Apple desktop OS, are already unhappy that this isn’t on Android. But my real disappointment here is that I don’t see anything beyond the superficial look of the step sequencer that makes this look like FL to me. I would’ve liked some of the quirky personality of the original on handheld. It’s a useful-looking tool, but put that name on there, and some people may come away feeling like they’ve got artificial fruit – only 5% real juice.

Some days, your personal Quality knob is cranked up to High; some days, it’s set to low. Know what I mean? I think mine today is set to economy, but…

I like things like this – you never know when an idea will pop into your head that you want to get down. (And the app, now via updated screenshots, looks really nice and clean and touch-friendly.) But it does serve as a reminder that the $500 spent on a tablet could also go to a pretty amazing laptop that’s more than capable of all the depth and power of the real FL Studio.

Official specs on the app from I-L The specs we got from Image-Line’s public site are apparently “placeholder” specs, so not entirely complete or accurate. From comments: “To clarify, that spec page was actually just a placeholder with the specs of Xewton Music Studio. FL Studio Mobile, which is being created by the same developer, will have different sample content, amongst other changes.” But they look as though they’re at least in the ballpark, so here they are:

Save projects and load in FL Studio personal computer edition.
Photorealistic dynamically configurable 85-key keyboard
Instant positioning via the slide gesture and resize with the pinch gesture
90 studio-recorded instruments (16bit 44.1kHz sampled from real instruments)
40 free instruments, 50 available in the in-app shop
4 categories: classic, band, electronic, world
Release and attack time configurable per instrument
Sustain samples • Pitch bend via accelerometer
Low-latency, highly optimized, high-polyphony, battery saving audio engine
100 beats (drum loops)
5 real-time effects with lots of parameters
3 high-quality reverb algorithms, delay, 3-band equalizer, amplifier, filter
128-track sequencer • Beat & metronome settings (tempo, signature)
Per-track mute, solo, effect bus, pan and volume adjustment
Edit whole tracks or bars, down to individual notes:
Draw, quantize, transpose, repeat, move, length, velocity, etc.
MIDI import and export
Save and load your songs and export to wave
Wi-Fi and iTunes file transfer with your Mac/PC
Songs and MIDI files can be opened directly from Safari and Mail
Unlimited undo and redo
Detailed in-app help
Play or record 2 different instruments at the same time with 2 keyboard rows
Key labels (Cs only, all keys, all keys colored)
iPhone 4 Retina Display supported
Compatible with: Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer, Akai SynthStation 25, CoreMIDI

http://www.image-line.com/documents/flstudiomobile.html

  • http://www.hispasonic.com Mudo

    Ableton live for ipad 2 (or 3) will be interesting…

  • Jonah

    The Arpeggiators?

  • http://mbytz.com Myroslaw

    All the same, this looks like it'd be awesome for Android.  I've been waiting for something (even something as different/limited as this) to get my thoughts down as they occur, whether on the A train or out at dinner.

  • http://www.image-line.com/ nucleon

    To clarify, that spec page was actually just a placeholder with the specs of Xewton Music Studio. FL Studio Mobile, which is being created by the same developer, will have different sample content, amongst other changes.

  • http://www.image-line.com Jean-Marie Cannie

    We have no idea how those (hidden) dummy pages surfaced but they were a

    placeholder for what has to become : http://www.flstudiomobile.com & http://www.flstudioapp.com.

    We've replaced it with an early screenshot for now.

    Jean-Marie Cannie

    Image-Line Software

  • Peter Kirn

    Thanks, Jean-Marie. I thought I was already the last to hear about it, as a number of people came to me asking if I'd seen it *already*. So, sounds as though you may have a hit on your hands (even if some of us prefer the richer desktop experience)!

  • http://www.image-line.com Jean-Marie Cannie

    Well : There will always be limitations to what's possible on a small screen (that you cover half with your fingers trying to move something) but FL Studio Mobile is certainly stretching the limits of what's possible with an iPhone/iPod or iPad.

    On top of that people seem to overestimate what the iPhone CPU is capable off. I wouldn't expect a sequencer with fully synthesized instruments & decent HQ FX anytime soon.

    Jean-Marie Cannie

    Image-Line Software

  • Peter Kirn

    Definitely, Jean-Marie, I couldn't agree more. I'm eager to see what you've come up with.

    I was missing some of the sense of FL's personality, but then a lot of that to me is also on the synthesis side – hence LFOs, unusual sonic toys, etc. If I see a unison dial in there, though, I'll be pleased. ;) I'll wait to see what you've done.

    I'm certainly aware that the limitations come from the mobile platforms; that's why I endorse the Windows version as offering more bang for your buck and depth, because of the platform, even if you were to spend $500 or $600. But that's not to take away from the utility of having a sketchpad on the go, only to differentiate between the two experiences.

  • loopstationzebra

    Okay. Well. What we still haven't seen, and what this app certainly doesn't do, is live looping. Seeing as how Ableton isn't going to be getting into the iPad app market anytime soon, who's going to be the first to come up with a fantastic live looping tool. Now that the SoftStep MIDI foot controller can interact directly with the iPad…..

    The FL thing looks kind of interesting, but really just another (ho hum) sequencer. Where's a true looper?

  • mercury

    jean-marie on CDM…worlds colliding! this is actually what i have been waiting for in my ipad/iphone. ability to lay down basic track and import into FL studio VST into ableton to complete the bastard

  • PR13

    Port to Mac please.

  • phattfoniks

    i would have at least liked the original sample options window from the old fruityloops.. eg. the 'cut itself' and reverse. and is there no sample import? i'll stick to nano studio and bm2 then :( even tho i am a diahard fl fan.

  • http://www.youtube.com/fsk1138 FSK1138

    almost dropped my laptop when i saw this post !!!

    H#LL Y#S !!!

  • newmiracle

    Slam dunk.

    Sure, it's not a full version or whatever. But as someone who loves FLStudio, and happen to have an iTouch, it would be cool to have some kind of mobile sketch pad that hooks directly into the DAW at home.

    Looper? FLStudio on the desktop isn't much for looping, anyways. What I would like to see in there is more of a live jamming/live composition mode. Figuring out a good way to manage song mode vs. pattern mode will be key, especially for iTouch/iPhone. Don't forget us small screen people, ImageLine!

  • Leslie

    Fantastic news but, as PR13 said, can we have FLS for Mac pretty please ;)

    BTW; Will FLS App offer native iPad compatibility, or is it 2X mode in which case I'll pass on that one.

  • Leslie

    @Jean-Marie Cannie

    Image Line does support Mac (http://www.image-line.com/documents/softsynths.html), so why such a reluctance towards releasing FLS for Mac?

  • kid versus chemical

    "On top of that people seem to overestimate what the iPhone CPU is capable off. I wouldn’t expect a sequencer with fully synthesized instruments & decent HQ FX anytime soon."

    I think nanostudio already pulled that off admirably.  I'm sure i will get this when it comes out like the little app junkie I am, but I think they should include the ability to add your own samples.  The little sampler that comes up when you drop a 1 shot in fruity would have great say x6, with all it's neat little quirky features.

    As fora Mac port, I fully understand why the don't, but some talented programmers could rewrite the windows library dependent stuff with all the amazing dev tools out there today.  Supporting and updating would be difficult I'm sure.

    Also, to some of the commenters – writing Mac compatible vst's is much more simple then porting a daw like FL, that's really not sound logic for the viability of a mac port.

  • http://www.image-line.com Jean-Marie Cannie

    You're indeed staring at millions of lines of code, a lot of which is working very closely together with the Windows API.

    One option we currently have is wrapping FL Studio using Crossover.

    The people from Codeweavers did a wrap of FL Studio that runs nicely on Mac … but lacks audio inputs, (AU) plugins and short latency.

    On the other hand it could be a nice product if we bundled all plugins by default. We'll see how this evolves once FL10 is released on PC.

  • evan

    Since it sounds like a lot of people don't understand why fl studio is not cross platform.. let me explain. 

    FL Studio was written is Dephli&nbsp ;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embarcadero_Delphi  There is no mac/unix compiler for this language. So, there will never be a port of fl studio to anything other then windows.  So this mobile app isn't a port instead, it is a new application. They are probably working from a c code base so that is why they aren't on android… since that runs on java. 

  • http://vsavagellc.com piano chord progress

    I wish they would bring Reason 5 over…

  • http://the-palm-sound.blogspot.com/ Palm Sounds

    Peter, the specs are wrong they haven't been confirmed by the developer. I had them up on Palm Sounds but took them down after discussion with the dev.

  • griotspeak
  • http://www.citrusburn.com malachi

    This. This is what I've been wanting; FL in my pocket. Using FL on my Tabletkiosk eo is nice and all, but I don't have that with me all the time, like I do my phone. Also, once the battery gets down to about 50% (about 30 mins) I can't do much anyway. I recently bought an iphone and have been using MusicStudio and that's nice too, but what would be even better is being able to directly swap files with FL. This is a good step closer. Of course there will be limitations and alterations, but after seeing the desktop software develop from version 2 when I discovered it to what it is now, I'm optimistic about the growth of the mobile app.

  • louis

    Think before you buy!!!!!

    Doos and donts

    Doos

    1. Make your beats, songs everywhere(even on the toilet)

    2. Import your projects in Fl studio

    Donts

    1. Although the app is released by image line, its not developed by them. Meaning that they dont provide support or help with malfunctions.

    2. The app does not replace the real thing. Just use it as a sketchbook. To much limitations.

    3. Ipod touch and iphone have a smal screen. Does not help if you have big fingers and the ipad is not really mobile. A little to big.

    Not knowing the techical specs such as, processor speed and internal memory of any apple mobile product provided some limitations to the manufacturers. I think that the look is the only good thing about it. We ll see

    Conclusion

    Fl studio mobile can be seen as a handy addition to the mail FL studio.

    Sorry for my bad english

  • Gareth

    The overall look is like a twin of music studio, which I personally find rather combersome. I like to use nano studio when 'sketching' ideas, it's so easy to use and has lots of positives. I love FL studio 10 for my desktop, but I think I'll be closley scrutinizing the mobile version, although the drum sequencer looks interesting!

  • BigNightTrain

    1st.  Reason/Record on the iPad 2 with core midi and raw wave support  

    2nd.  ProTools on iPad 2 

    3rd.   Akai MPC styled sequencer app based on the real MPC.

  • http://awesomesaucelolz.tumblr.com LoLskates :D

    All of this sounds great, but the real question is- How much is it ._.