Dutch design firm wants to add knobs to your iPad

Steve Jobs famously hated buttons. So much so, he actually tried to push a keyboard with no arrow keys to keep the design more minimal. (When Jobs left, the key count doubled and people love it.)

And yet, the keyless legacy lives on, as anyone who’s used a virtual joystick can tell you. But for those who make music, the iPad might be the one interface they use that has no buttons on it. That’s about to change at the hands of Rotterdam-based design shop Tweetonig. Today they’re introducing Tuna Knobs, physical knobs that can be used on any capacitive touchscreen and will give music-making a more analog feel.

That feel of an instrument is not insignificant as several of our speakers at this year’s Moogfest told us. LA-based beatsmith Daedelus, for example, talked about the tactile transition from playing upright bass to making music on the Monome. The reality is that buttons, knobs, and switches do matter, as Tom Armitage wrote for us three years ago:

The button is the boundary between our actions and a game. And, though they may be based upon the same micro switches from the same supplier, not all buttons are made equal; they live or die by their design.

And design is something that Rotterdam does well. The NYT Times described the city as “designed around design,” citing a high importance on architecture. Hopefully Tuna Knobs will do their hometown proud.

Tuna Knobs launch today on Kickstarter.