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What are your thoughts on Orbacam?

Two weeks ago, we released an exciting new app experience for Orba. 


This new iOS companion app lets you turn your Orba songs into sharable, musical videos that sync automatically with whatever you’re playing on Orba. Create a musical selfie, add a meditative tone to your morning coffee, or compose an orchestral score for the sunset in real-time. With sounds and VFX baked right into the video, there’s no need for additional audio routing or post-production. You can even mix in your phone’s microphone to sing or rap over your beat, shoot video as you play live, or import videos and photos from your camera roll to add a soundtrack after the fact.


For more of a backstory to the inspiration and creation of Orbacam, check out this recent blog post on our website: https://artiphon.com/blogs/artiphon-blog/introducing-orbacam-our-new-musical-video-app 


As an important part of our customer community, we wanted to get your thoughts on this app so far, and maybe even see some of your favorite videos that you’ve created with Orbacam so far. 


(For more information on why this app is currently available only on iOS, you can check out a recent article in our Knowledge Base)


I understand why iOS was chosen for this app, but I will never understand why, when three out of four devices worldwide use Android, you would choose to put so much effort and marketing into something that will only be useful to 25% of your customers. I love my Orba, but every time you post another Orbacam ad, or retweet a video, etc., I feel a bit more disenfranchised.

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We understand your frustration, Scott. 


The truth is iOS was the first platform we chose because its toolset, MIDI, and audio integration allowed an obvious path to our goals. Historically, we’ve found Android development slightly more challenging and resource heavy because there are so many different possible configurations of software and hardware, and the capacity of hardware can vary wildly from device to device, making the scope of development astronomically greater than it is for Apple Devices.  We are also working on prioritizing other features for Orba that are cross-platform.


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"We understand your frustration, Scott."

Are you sure about that Evan? It looks fairly clear to the majority (there's been a lot of talk about Artiphon as a company and their perceived business ethic on various forums lately) that this company appears to be more interested in spending money on advertising and advertising gimmicks (orbacam), rather than give the customer base/supporters the features you have been promising for months to a year. 

You have people complaining all over the place, and the majority of them aren't here (thankfully, as the forums are somewhat hidden and I doubt half your customers even know they exist). 
The ones that are here run a gamut from people saying they were told on purchase the Orba would have features that it doesn't (exporting for example), people talking about how long it is taking to get a response from the company, people getting told over a year ago that Artiphon was 'hard at work' getting new features out the door, and the list goes on.

I was quite excited to receive my Orba, but I quickly realized the crippling limitations of the product and now it is just a 'toy' that sits on a table for the odd moment I feel like picking it up and playing on it (once in the past 3 weeks), as it isn't really useful as a device. 
It was somewhat useful as a MIDI controller by the sounds of it, but then alongside the ability to export you also removed manual gesture loadout capability, so it is crippled in that regard too for any software that doesn't support manual MIDI selection.  

Then, you guys come here to 'address the issues' and ask people to reach out via email, where nobody else can see their messages. 

It's far better for the consumer to communicate the issues in an open fashion like this so other consumers can know what to expect, and send an email alongside it so they can actually get some help with the product. 

People aren't happy for good reason. 

I understand the issue. Put too much resource towards R&D and you can't put as much towards advertising, and it isn't like Artiphon has more to offer than 2 hardware controllers and a couple apps. Money has to come from somewhere. 
However, even though you might see your 'loyal customer' as being mostly a one-off deal (who wants to buy more than one Orba or I1?), what you are failing to realize is that your YT/Facebook videos are only doing so much when they are getting top comments talking about the unsolved issues that Artiphon seems to content to leave unadressed. 
If you instead put more effort into proper PR and R&D (actually getting things out the door instead of a tri-monthly 'sometime soon') your customers would actually want to do some advertising for you, and it is the best kind of advertising you can get; the word of actual customers talking about how great a product is, and how wonderful it is to have a good company that stands behind it, and their customer. 

As it stands, unfortunately you guys are begging to get quite a bit of negative press as people become more frustrated; I don't think that's going to get better any time soon unless people start seeing the promises that have been made being fulfilled. 


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I understand the lack of Android support. Back in 2012, when I was still developing apps for Android, I used to complain about missing Android compatibility. But after looking at the BLE MIDI implementation(s) and performance on Android, I can fully understand why few music apps venture there. However, I do wish Apple would support Web MIDI API... For OrbaCam, my wish is landscape mode for usability on an iPad.

Quote:

Historically, we’ve found Android development slightly more challenging and resource heavy because there are so many different possible configurations of software and hardware, and the capacity of hardware can vary wildly from device to device, making the scope of development astronomically greater than it is for Apple Devices.

 I'm a developer and I understand the issues that your bring up. However, suppose for a moment that it is TWICE as difficult to develop for Android as it is to develop for iOS, but for extra effort you triple your potential customer base. In other words, for twice the effort you reach three times as many people. That is the argument, and it is not twice as difficult to develop for Android so the real gains would be even greater. After the release of the minimum viable product, incremental updates and enhancements would be no more difficult for Android than they would be for iOS.

Meh. I'd rather have you focus on delivering more updates to the basic app and device geared towards music making - like more modes than simply major & minor, support for custom scales, chords, sounds...

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Same, I got the Orba to make music, not TikTok videos. The Orbacam effects also look so boring that I'm not even tempted to try it, I'm sorry to say...


My wishlist of things for the Orba to become usable:

- Quantizing (!)

- Fix BLE connectivity on Android (did this ever work? is it just my phone?)

- Fix the audio dropouts when switching instruments

- Sane presets where each instrument is actually in the same scale, which can be changed globally

Markus, which firmware version are you using? The four parts should be in the same key and scale and change when you change the song key in the app.

@Arne I'm on the latest firmware 0.15.13.


Checked again and it seems that the Bass presets use diatonic scales, while the Lead presets use pentatonic scales (except for the one labelled "Orba Diatonic"), although both adapt to key and min/maj changes in the app. I also see now this is documented on https://artiphon.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/44001908912-how-do-i-change-the-scale-on-orba-s-8-pads-.


So this seems like a deliberate design choice, but I don't understand why the scale is a property of the patch, rather than a global setting.

The key, scale, and tempo are song level settings and show up in the app’s top bar next to the song name.

@Arne yes, that's where I'm making the changes :)


What I meant was: Changing the scale in the app, will only toggle between diatonic major/minor (for Bass) or pentatonic major/minor (for Lead). It won't change from diatonic to pentatonic. So apparently some of the scale is controlled by the patch, and some of it by the song settings.

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