In the long run, iOS 7 should be a step forward for audio. There are some pretty superb new features for routing audio between apps, better selecting from different mics, and other features. But as in many of these sorts of updates, we have to first navigate some compatibility issues first, and get the bugs ironed out. (Inter-app audio is coming to apps now, but there are still some bugs that mean it doesn’t behave perfectly yet – watch for updates from Apple.)

AudioCopy and AudioPaste, the popular technologies for seamlessly “copying” sounds between different iOS apps, requires the use of an updated API in order to function in iOS 7. With over 100 apps supporting this feature over recent years, that’s taking some time. But the updates are gradually coming in (the SDK for the new support is free).

And in the “one step forward” category – not “one step back” – the folks at Retronyms are releasing a free app that makes working with copied sound a lot cooler. AudioCopy is a free iOS 7-only app that allows you to see all your copied sounds on a big grid, a common pasteboard. You may wish you had this on your desktop machine. It’s reminiscent, in fact, of the original pasteboard that shipped with the very first Macs.

In fact, in addition to making it easier to get sounds between apps, AudioCopy really becomes a central repository for lots of samples. For those of us who love the iPhone and so on as portable sampling devices, this is especially beautiful. You can even import from iTunes, and get graphical access to a collection of sounds (with the ability to prune them) for use with all your sound apps. Grab some noises, drop them in drum pads (see the nice iMPC make an appearance), and start sketching out ideas. Watch:

And the price is right – free.

AudioCopy App @ Retronyms

AudioCopy: Free Your Sounds

Yes, I’m late on posting this. Consider this slow, artisanal blogging, simmering to get just the right flavors. Or just late, behind deadline – whatever.

But speaking of timing, is it time yet to update to iOS 7? On recent iPhones, I’d say yes; the new software supporting iOS 7 is really nice. On critical studio iPads, iPads you’re using in performance, if you’re sensitive to reliability issues, I’d wait – updates are coming that will make your transition more seamless later than now. I expect updates to AudioBus and Apple’s own internal features, for instance, and we’re watching those. If you don’t mind tinkering, though, it can be worth taking the leap; in time, I think it really will be an OS that makes musicians happy, and it’s nice to see the amount of audio effort that went into it.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    There are some pretty superb new features for routing audio between apps

    and to repeat my post (just made) on the other Audiobus thread:

    JACK is dead on iOS7 as is any system that attempts to use interprocess communication (no shared memory, no Mach ports).

    Audiobus will be forced to simply be some kind of wrapper around iOS’s “native” inter-app audio, and neither of them will do what JACK did (and continues to do other platforms).

    There is some tiny chance that this is a bug (a report has been filed with Apple), but I doubt it.

    • Peter Kirn

      Okay. The last conversations I’d had indicated that it seemed these things might still be made to work.

      I appreciate what Doug Wyatt and his team did with the built-in APIs. They seem like the right direction. Now … I don’t know that that is directly related to these interprocess changes.

      I suppose the good news is, they could have nuked this other stuff and not provided their own native API. So … this is better than that scenario.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      They were entirely free to re-use all of JACK which has run on their platform since OS X 10.3, and provide(s|d) things that their new API really doesn’t approach. Call me bitter, I don’t care anymore.

    • Peter Kirn

      Well, no, that’s a fair criticism. Now, I’m not really in a position to second-guess Apple’s engineering decisions.

      Though I can say, at this point, I don’t recommend inter-app audio – it isn’t yet stable enough to use. I am in a position to say that. And that would, in turn, lend some ammunition to what you’re saying.

      That is, I can judge their engineering decisions from the user’s perspective — and it isn’t there, yet.

    • Peter Kirn

      Also, Paul, I have to be clear – the information I have is that at least AudioBus works on iOS 7. You’re the first person to suggest that it’s impossible to do interprocess communication, and the people who are working on that tell me it is possible.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      Grrr, Disqus ate the first version of this.

      You could read all on the thread “JACK IOS (RIP)” on the jack-devel mailing list, but here are the relevant portions:

      starting with iOS 7.0 Apple decided to block all IPC mechanisms between third party apps. So you can’t establish shared memory,native Mach port connections or any other way to communicate with foreign apps anymore. That’s the reason why the JACK app won’t launch on iOS 7 anymore. It crashes immediately right after the point when it tries to establish shared memory. You can now (iOS7) only use specific IPC APIs for processes that are part of apps signed with the same team profile / signature, that is IPC is now limited explicitly to your own and only to your own apps.

      Re: audiobus

      they actually dropped their previously used audio server backend (which was poor anyway) and instead turned the Audiobus app simply to be an “Inter-App Audio” (IAA) host. The latter is a new (quite limited) system introduced by Apple with iOS 7 for connecting audio apps with each other. Unfortunately for JACK we cannot do as the Audiobus authors did. Because JACK is far more powerful than IAA and JACK’s concept would not fit into the IAA framework at all. Of course we could recycle the JACK iOS GUI for a new app on top of Apple’s IAA system, but as said this would then just be yet another IAA host app, not JACK anymore, and accordingly would have the exact same limitations as any other IAA host app.

    • Will

      I’ve never seen the Audiobus source code but I don’t think that is an accurate description of the way it works or worked.

  • Aris Ladas

    This will be a pretty useful app for sampling on the go. Can’t wait to get the new Iphone.

  • Will

    Note that the original Sonoma audiocopy was open source and retronyms has closed the source on this “version 2” of it. This is really only a version two by name since the code had to change completely. What it is, to me, is a bite on AudioShare’s open source SDK ( and the use of a familiar name so everyone would adopt it.

    I’m glad it’s there, glad it’s free and like the addition of app folders but AudioShare is a much better app *with* an open source SDK. Just not nearly as free.