The 128GB iPad Is Here… Now Who Says iOS Isn’t For DJs?

Phil Morse | Read time: 3 mins
ios ios dj iPad DJing
Last updated 14 November, 2017


Rana Sobhany
Three years ago, Rana Sobhany first ‘outed’ iPad DJing, touring a simple two-iPads-and-a-mixer set-up. How far we’ve come since…

Of course we’ve been heavily covering iOS as a DJ platform from the off, and have had a dedicated iOS editor, DJ Hombre, for over a year now. We’ve always been sure iOS is going to be a dominant platform for DJing. (Actually, to put it more accurately, we think laptops were always an imperfect solution, so anything with another angle on it all needs to be taken seriously.)

And with big names like Traktor finally jumping on board, this could be the year it goes mainstream. Two of the big issues with iOS were that there weren’t two stereo outputs (so headphones monitoring in stereo was impossible while pushing a stereo signal to front of house), and that the devices were limited in storage capacity. iOS 6 solved the first issue, and the recently-announced 128GB iPad solves the second.

The iPad as a laptop replacement

Now, 128GB isn’t a huge amount of space, and initially you’re definitely going to pay a premium for it with the 128GB iPad – but this is nonetheless going to be enough for 90% of DJs. And with Midi in/out and even DVS capabilities now online for iPad (both were pioneered by DJ Player), there is already really no barrier to anyone who wants to be an early adopter and replace their laptop with an iPad in their DJ set-up.

The inherent advantages of digital DJing – portability, power to do things in new ways, convenience – are not exclusive to laptop set-ups, and indeed are often actually bettered by using an iOS device. And while iOS DJing is definitely different from laptop systems, it needn’t be massively so. You can still use a controller if you want (Numark’s iDJ Pro is such a device), for instance.

iOS takes things further…

But this is only the half of it – an iPad or even an iPhone can be used wirelessly (Algoriddim’s djay and vjay apps let you DJ over AirPlay), it can be used as a library manager (Denon’s Engine software for its CDJs like the SC3900 and Pioneer’s rekordbox for the wireless-enabled CDJ-2000nexus and consumer-friendly XDJ-Aero let you do just that), or it can be used to cue-point and analyse tunes away from your main set-up (djay takes advantage of iCloud to seamlessly transfer such information between versions of the program running on iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and Mac).

MixVibes Cross on iPad
MixVibes Cross on iPad joins apps like Algoriddim’s djay in offering a complete DJ system with no need for any external equipment.

Of course an iPad can also be used as your only DJing device, with the touchscreen offering a radical new way of DJing (see Traktor DJ, djay, DJ Player, MixVibes Cross DJ 2.0 for iPad, among others).

Still not convinced? With Virtual DJ 8 already confirmed to be a true cross-platform app (running on OS X, Windows 8 – also touchscreen, remember – plus iOS), make no mistake: Not only is the iPad not going away from digital DJing, it is about to step up and become a huge driving force. The next 12 months will be really interesting – and yes, Digital DJ Tips is already trying to justify the purchase of a 128GB iPad for its workshop…

• I’d like to take this opportunity to thank DJ Hombre for his dozens of reviews and round-ups covering iOS on Digital DJ Tips over the last year. From what we already know, he’s going to be twice as busy over the next 12 months…

Are you one of our intrepid readers who’s already using an iPad in some way, shape or form in your DJing? Can you see yourself doing so in the next 12 months? Have you discovered a novel, interesting or noteworthy way of using your iPad to aid your DJing? Or do you think this is all a dead-end, and that the laptop rules supreme? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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