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Blog // Thoughts
March 3, 2011

iPad2 Quick Thoughts

Last night Apple announced their new iPad. It’s fair to say that most of the tech world was slightly underwhelmed.. Sure, the new iPad 2 has a camera (and iChat functionality) and it’s a little faster, a little lighter and a little more sleek. But, there are few compelling reasons to upgrade if you already […]

iPad Reflection

Last night Apple announced their new iPad. It’s fair to say that most of the tech world was slightly underwhelmed.. Sure, the new iPad 2 has a camera (and iChat functionality) and it’s a little faster, a little lighter and a little more sleek. But, there are few compelling reasons to upgrade if you already have the first generation iPad.

However, in the music world, the excitement was a little more noticeable; largely because of Apple’s news that a very affordable and full-featured version of Garageband for the iPad is on the way. This is a more playable, versatile and music creation oriented app than the original Garageband that Apple released in 2004. Moreover, songs created on the iOS version of Garageband can then be opened in the OSX version of Garageband, which of course means they can be ported into Logic Pro for full pro-level development.

Think about it; you start a song on the iPad, create a demo, then ship the file onto your iMac or Mac Pro and finish it off in Logic Pro – working from the same original idea and file. Stunning.

I agree with Peter Kirn over at Create Digital Music that Apple has made an investment in tablet based music production that other platforms are unlikely to catch up with anytime soon.

Further evidence of this is Apogee’s announcement today of the Jam iPad interface. This is a similar device to AmpliTube iRig, though designed specifically to work with iPad version of Garageband.

Moreover, we are starting discover how the iPad can be intergrated into existing DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) setups. Check out this video of Spectrasonic’s Eric Persing showing how to use Air Display to turn an iPad into a touch screen for a Logic Pro setup. And, let’s not forget that Spectrasonics are also leading the field with their own Omnisphere iPad controller app, Omni TR.

So, what we have now, with iLife apps like Garageband and iMovie appearing on the iPad is the “tabletisation” of most computer user’s requirements. There is very little that the typical computer user needs to do that can’t be handled by the current or next generation of tablet devices. Then in the professional music space, we have the appearance of controllers and applications that allow the iPad to create serious music and interface with full DAW environments. Amazing.

What’s missing? Well, backup, for one thing. I feel pretty good about editing text on my iPad because with a combination of Scrivener, DropBox and PlainText I have a painless and reliable workflow for writing. We need something like that for music and when it comes to photography, the ability to save a copy of RAW files to an external drive upon import would be essential before serious photographers give up with MacBook Pros for field work.

On top of that, we need better and easier connectivity for external devices like controller keyboards and audio interfaces. Garageband’s potential on the iPad will only be realised when it is easier to hook up a multi-channel audio interface and serious microphones.

Of course, that is all wishful thinking and easy criticism. Right now the iPad is a pretty amazing device for music production and we’ve really only started to scratch the surface of what it can do. While I won’t be buying an iPad 2, but I have started integrating the iPad into my DAW environment. In fact, I’m kind of hoping that Apple hurry up and release the iPad 3, because the subsequent flood of cheap first generation iPads on eBay will be a nice thing for music makers everywhere.

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