MidiWrist app: Turn your Apple Watch into the most cramped MIDI controller ever
Developer Geert Bevin has come up with a way to make the Apple Watch useful beyond updating you on stocks and shares and making sure your heart’s still beating. MidiWrist turns your Apple Watch into a wireless MIDI controller.
This is a nicely implemented idea. With the MidiWrist app the Apple Watch can give you 4 knobs that are controlled via the winder knob on the side either individually or grouped together. You can switch this with a swipe to transports controls for easy stop/play/record functions. You can have buttons that toggle or can be held for momentary switching or send program change messages. Or you can give the screen over to being an XY pad with mapped parameters. And if you like the Watch can buzz you with haptic feedback. It’s all wireless over Bluetooth MIDI and fast and responsive.
It’s really nice, except that all this control and functionality is packed into a screen about the size of a single finger-drum pad. Watching the video of the digital crown being used to control the 4 knobs was pretty painful. It works, and there’s no doubting that it’s a great app but it just makes me question the usefulness of something so tiny. I mean, at least it’s not the Synthwatch. I think there’s something useful here in terms of transport control and even the XY control could be interesting but it’s all probably done better on an actual phone or a dedicated MIDI controller.
Technology should enhance our lives, make things easier. There’s one video where Geert is demonstrating the wireless voice control feature and, although the potential usefulness is obvious, it makes me want to pick the thing up and smash Siri against the wall.
MidiWrist definitely works, Geert has done an excellent job on the app and for only $4.99 I can see the appeal but for me, life is too short to be fiddling with something so small.
The app feeling cramped is a very valid question!
The digital crown makes all the difference though, because even though it’s small, it’s a physical wheel that feels awesome. Tweaking with the crown, irrespective of the Watch’s screen size, is super convenient.
About the Siri example, well it’s similar to interacting with a sound engineer in a studio, they take a few seconds to respond too, the advantage is that you stay in the moment and don’t have to take your hands off of your instrument.
For people with disabilities, Siri has obvious advantages.
I’ll have to take your word for it on the digital crown and as I say I think you did a great job of employing the watch technology for MIDI – it’s certainly worth a go for anyone sporting an Apple Watch and making music.
Not just my word, just read what people think online, for instance: https://9to5mac.com/2018/10/04/apple-watch-series-4-digital-crown-evolution-review/