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Why aren’t there more iOS Au­dio Units?

When Au­dio Units ar­rived on iOS in 2015, we sus­pected that they’d come to su­percede the likes of Au­diobus and Inter-App Au­dio. Whereas th­ese stan­dards en­able you to con­nect apps and use them to­gether, AUs of­fer the prom­ise of proper plug-in-style host­ing of in­stru­ments and apps within your iPhone or iPad DAW, which cer­tainly seems like a bet­ter so­lu­tion.

All of this re­mains true, but the bot­tom line is that we haven’t seen as many iOS AUs as we were ex­pect­ing. It’s hard to say why this is, but the bot­tom line could be… well, the bot­tom line. Let’s not for­get that most iOS apps sell for a frac­tion of the price of their desk­top coun­ter­parts, so it’s much harder for a de­vel­oper to jus­tify spend­ing time and money adding fea­tures (in this case, AU sup­port) if they don’t think it’ll re­sult in a mas­sive in­crease in sales. And per­haps ei­ther the de­mand for AUs just isn’t as great as we might think, or adding AU sup­port is par­tic­u­larly tricky or labour-in­ten­sive.

It’s also worth not­ing that not all iOS mu­sic pro­duc­tion apps cur­rently have the op­tion of host­ing AUs. You’ll find it in the likes of GarageBand, Cuba­sis and Auria, for ex­am­ple, but not in Korg’s Gad­get. As such, it doesn’t yet feel like a full-on ‘stan­dard’ that de­vel­op­ers feel com­pelled to sup­port.

Nev­er­the­less, we still think that iOS AUs have great po­ten­tial. Yes, we’re still wait­ing for some ma­jor

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