Apple has an audio interface device in the works that plans to aggressively compete with prosumer hardware recording
devices. The interface, known as ‘Q97’ or, more affectionately,
‘Asteroid,’ is being built around Apple’s GarageBand
The Asteroid will include two XLR/TRS audio inputs, two RCA outputs, and a headphone jack. It will draw power via a single Firewire 400 port. Rumour has it that an alternate version of the device that includes a S/PDIF digital out port is circulating on the Cupertino campus, and may end up being the final version send to manufacturing.
This is a smart move. It leverages the benefits of Apple’s acquisition of Emagic to create a ‘Middle Path’ device that targets the consumer who just wants to make music without needing all the pro audio bells and whistles of a high-end prosumer digital recording environment. At an expected retail price of $129-149, this unit could really appeal to those aspiring musicians who just want to get a decent recording of their guitar or vocals onto their Macs.