Maybe it’s because we’ve covered it all already, but whatever the reason, there’s scant little to report on the hardware side from the BPM Show this year. (Just look at our News & Opinion stream for the past few weeks; everything new we’ve covered is here at BPM.)
That’s not to say there’s nothing interesting going on – far from it. Just that we’re looking for trends, not big surprise announcements. One of those trends is a move away from the laptop, and is perfectly illustrated by the news that Virtual DJ 8 will be the first multi-platform, multi-touch DJ app. That means that from the off, it will run on Windows, Mac and iOS (Android is out in the cold when it comes to DJing, for many reasons).
This reflects a growing trend we’ve noticed on the showfloor: iPads are creeping in everywhere. They’re perched above DJ controllers, controlling music libraries, built right in to controllers like the iDJ Pro…
We think it’s quite big news that Atomix, Virtual DJ’s maker, has decided to make the software work on all platforms from the outset. With iOS6, any class-compliant DJ controller can now be plugged in and interact with Midi and four channels of sound. That means there’s no theoretical reason why iPads can’t simply replace laptops plugged into your favourite DJ controller.
(Indeed, to test this, tomorrow we’re going to run round the show unplugging everyone’s laptops from their controllers and plugging our iPad in to see if it all hooks up nicely; if we don’t get thrown out, watch this space for the results!)
This suggests all DJ software will really have to step up to the plate of multi-platform, multi-touch environments if its not going to be left behind. The fact that the Virtual DJ 8 will make full use from the off of multi-touch means that software layers that sit over existing software to enable touchscreen control (such as the Emulator software underpinning Smithson Martin products) will, in the case of Virtual DJ, be unnecessary; from Windows 8 to iOS, multi-touch will “just work”.
However, for true cross-platform elegance, we think Atomix will also have to work on incorporating cloud DJing in the way Algoriddim has done with djay and iTunes Match (remember, djay is already cross-platform on all Apple hardware).
The CloudCast feature that arrived with Virtual DJ 7.1 is a good start, but relies on a NetSearch subscription within Virtual DJ, and thus will need to be only part of the software’s cloud capabilities if Virtual DJ 8 is to really shine as a cross-platform solution.
Atomix will also obviously have to skin the software to suit the resolutions of all the possible host devices.
More Virtual DJ news…
For those waiting patiently for Virtual DJ 8 to drop, looks like you’ll have to carry on waiting, although we do have some progress for you.
For a start, the software has a smart new skin, subtly building on the old Virtual DJ skin, in dark grey instead of black and with a more 3D look. There’s a switchable panel between the decks and library to cycle through cues, effects, video, samples etc – similar to the way Serato DJ does it. It will also have coloured track waveforms, a feature also to be included – we can also exclusively reveal – in Virtual DJ 7.2. (Indeed, this is actually the only change in Virtual DJ 7.2 over Virtual DJ 7.1.)
Regarding release date, the Virtual DJ team say it’s getting closer, but the software has to be rock solid first, and it seems the company is quite happy to take however long it takes to achieve that. The latest word is Q2 next year.
With the iPad now becoming easy to use with more and more DJ controllers, can you see yourself taking one into the DJ box instead of your laptop? Are you patiently waiting for Virtual DJ 8, or do you wish they’d just get ti released? Please share your thoughts below.