Well, we've had the chance to play with the iPad and AC-7 Pro for a few hours and the conclusions are, well, mixed.......
Getting the iPad and your DAW talking to each other is a little fiddly (you need to install a couple of additional apps on the Mac - see our walkthrough with Logic), and doesn't work every time, but once you're up and running, everything starts off promisingly.
Once we were all set up, the entire LSS staff squeezed into the office to have a play, and within minutes we were seeing the potential of using the iPad and AC-7 Pro in our mixes and lectures - there were more than a few of us who went from "I don't see the point of an iPad" to "I have to have one - now!"
Eventually I managed to coax the iPad away from everyone else, as it was time to put AC-7 Pro through its paces.
When you first open up the app, it takes a little while for the fader positions to be recognised. You can give them a little nudge on the iPad, or try scrolling up and down the fader banks, and they start to behave themselves.
I'd like the option to lock onto your fader selection - once you touch a fader, it's too easy to accidentally drift to the side while looking at the DAW screen, and start moving the adjacent channel. Mixing on faders is always a more instinctive process than using a mouse, and the control is smooth and accurate.
Transport controls are reliable enough, but that's where the good news ends. Things now get buggier than an entomologist convention.
As soon as you try going beyond basic fader control, AC-7 Pro gets a little unpredictable. The channel select buttons behave erratically, and the Multifunction controls never seem to do the same thing twice. Sometimes the GView controls affect just the iPad screen, other times it also affects Logic. The Assign controls have no obvious function at all.....
I don't want to dwell on the faults with AC-7 Pro too much, as the potential for this is awesome - especially when compared to the price of a dedicated touch screen controller. I can see us using iPads in all of our studios in the future - but I'd wait a little while until Saitara iron out the wrinkles in the system.
We've heard from the guys at Saitara, and they've told us about a way to get a more stable performance out of AC-7 Pro, by setting up a private network between your Mac and the iPad (see our updated setup guide). Given this a try, and it seems to help things a lot (looks like most of the problems aren't due to AC-7 Pro either - quite a few people are having issues with the iPad wireless connectivity).
With the private network setup, AC-7 Pro is a much more usable system - it pretty much behaves as a Mackie controller should do. I'd like to see a few extra features - dedicated pages for plugin and pot controls would really help make this easier to use, but at £5.99, you can't complain too much!