At this point, most tablets come with keyboard covers, mostly thanks to everybody wanting to be in those Surface ads, but not wanting to actually buy a Surface. But imagine pressing a switch and seeing your iPad flip open to reveal a two-octave keyboard. The C.24 is working to make that dream a reality.
Needless to say, it’s not a full piano attached to your iPad; that’s a bit too silly even for Kickstarter. No, instead it’s a MIDI keyboard, designed to communicate with your iPad via Bluetooth and CoreMIDI. Fortunately, the standard is an open one, so hackers can mess around with it to their heart’s content.
The design of the keyboard itself is pretty clever as well. First of all, it doesn’t use springs; springs tend to wear out, and they’re not really well suited to the kind of abuse an iPad cover will take over time. Instead, it’s built using anti-polarity magnets. Key presses are tracked via infrared emitters, tracking overall key position.
Along the top is a capacitive ribbon control. The eight “buttons” on the left control the octave you’re on, at least as a factory standard; you can go in and change that any time you feel like. The ones on the right are configured for effects such as pitch bend.
Finally, the C.24 comes with the KEY app, which collects your MIDI data and ships it off to any MIDI-compatible iOS app. One assumes direct compatibility with some apps is coming as the C.24 catches on.
This is of course where you the customer come in: The C.24 is currently on Kickstarter, and the price is actually fairly low as of now: $99 will get you one of the first batch and $149 will get you one of the second. Better hurry, though; these are going quick.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.