GarageBand for iPad

I got an iPad on the very first day and since then I have found that it is great for playing Solitaire.

I know this is not everyone’s story, but I’m assuming that if my usage habits are true for me then they will be true for a good amount of other people. See, I have a MacBook Pro, a Mac Pro and an iPhone. If I need a portable computer for work, I’m bringing the MacBook because it’s much easier for typing, for every other basic computing task I use the MacBook. When lugging a computer isn’t an option the iPhone fills in nicely for the on-the-road needs like checking email and settling bets with Wikipedia.

In the house the iPad gets beat out by the MacPro. Out of the house it’s beat out by the MacBook Pro or the iPhone. Where is the iPad’s home? What can it do that just cannot be done by the others and where can it do it?

Music. That’s right. Music.

That is, music when you’re not in your house with your home studio set-up. Sure, if you’re in your house, you’re going to use the 61 key midi controller and better microphones and Logic or ProTools or whatever. But away from your huge, un-luggable desktop setup is where music creation on the iPad can really shine.

GarageBand on the iPad could be really awesome. It’s the multi touch that makes this possible. Think of the features!

  • On-screen, virtual, multi-touch keyboard!
  • Maybe even some virtual guitar strumming !
  • touch-and-drag arrange track!
  • tap tempo sensing!
  • Pinch zoom for crying out loud!

Have you ever tried to make a software instrument (MIDI) track in GarageBand on a laptop? Without a MIDI keyboard? The ways of doing that are pretty much unusable. You can try to click on virtual keys with the track pad or you can try to use the typing keyboard as kind of a synth. It’s pretty ridiculous.

Now, you could buy one of those little MIDI keyboards that are about the size of a laptop, but that becomes oddly unportable. Imagine trying to write a song in a car or airplane with this set up. Where do you put the laptop when you’re playing the keyboard? On the floor? Okay, but then how do you control the “record” and “stop” commands when it’s on the floor?

The iPad version of GarageBand can even, in many ways, be better than the desktop counterpart. For example, when “looping” a section, you have to hover the mouse over the upper right part of the section. This is tricky. Sometimes the little loop cursor appears then goes away cause you accidentally moved the mouse. Not a problem with the iPad GarageBand. I’m guessing you’d tap a music section and then, like copy-paste, the proper controls would then pop right up for you to tap/drag on. Awesome!

Now, GarageBand for the iPad probably won’t be used for “professional” grade recording, but it can be an amazing aid when you’re just working out how a song should be. And it would be a very compelling reason for many musicians to buy one.

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