Few iPad apps demonstrate the remarkable possibilties offered by the blending of touch screen and computer quite as much as GarageBand. The Smart Strings section in GarageBand for iOS is probably where this is made most obvious. Smart Strings does take a little getting used to. This excellent free Smart Strings tutorial video may help.
We used Smart Strings to create the sound track in the video shown above. Just a little bit of practice pays big dividends! Why not give it a go and be sure to let us know if you create something special.
We love TypeDrawing, it is amazing what can be done with the app in the right hands.
If you're quick, you can grab the app for Free today only. If you're too late, we think it is still worth a download anyway, especially now it has a recording feature too!
We found this video on YouTube and thought you might like it. Posted by a teacher at The International School in Kuala Lumpur, it features the work of some Year 7 students created on their iPads and it is quite impressive, especially when you consider these kids are only 11 years old.
Like many iPad and iPhone users we've been wondering what Jonathan Ive's involvement with the design of iOS 7 will mean. Ben Thompson makes some interesting points in his blog post entitled, 'Jony Ive is Not a Graphic Designer'. It's certainly worth reading.
Having spent considerable time with Microsoft's Windows Phone, I sincerely hope that iOS 7 does not have its super-minimalist look, visual fatigue sets in quickly for those who expect more than dull sans-serif fonts and flat coloured boxes.
This app is for everyone. Sure, it's particularly useful for those who are employed to care for and repair the human body, but as the owner of a human body, surely it would be handy to know how it's put together?
Spend just a hour with Essential Anatomy and I guarantee that you'll start to see yourself differently. You'll begin to consider the mechanics of your skeletal system before lifting heavy weights. When you get a twitch in your calf muscle you'll know exactly which muscle and associated nerve is responsible.
The 3D rendering is smooth, only ever getting slightly choppy when every layer is being rendered. The UI is perfect, with multi-touch gestures being used to full effect.
It's a tad more expensive than your regular iPad app, but then, it so much more useful. This app is a keeper.
App Store Link: Essential Anatomy
In an almost unprecedented move, Apple has updated GarageBand to add support for the extremely popular Audiobus app. Audiobus enables inter-app workflow by offering live app-to-app audio streaming. Within 3 months, Audiobus has welcomed aboard over 100 iOS apps. With GarageBand support we imagine that just about every iOS developer will be looking to add Audiobus compatibility to their music creation apps.
We've tested GarageBand with a handful of popluar Audiobus compatible apps and everything worked as expected. Audiobus is an essential purchase. We could be witnessing the birth of a new standard here. Exciting times!
App Store Link: Audiobus
It's here and it's epic! Pinball games work so well on the iPad and Star Wars Pinball is the best so far. All three Star Wars themed tables are currently only available as in app purchases from the free Zen Pinball app.
App Store Link: Zen Pinball
After a limited release earlier in the month, Real Racing 3 has finally gone global. Does the notorious freemium model spoil this console quality racer? We think it might. We don't think it's right to feel pressured to make continual payments, surely it's much better to just set the game at the correct price in the first place and be done with it? Imagine having to pay for every mouthful of a meal in advance... yes, it's that annoying!
Real Racing is such a well loved series, EA could have charged upwards of $15 for the latest iteration without too much complaint from RR fans. As it stands, we can not wholeheartedly recommend Real Racing 3. However, a casual gamer with plenty of patience may not be too bothered by this particular brand of freemium payment model.
App Store Link: Real Racing 3
I use a transparant plastic clipboard daily. Every time I pick it up I wonder how long it will be until the iPad looks and feels this way. While my musings stay firmly in my head, designer Ricardo Afonso has been busy putting his similar ideas into 'reality'.
Behold! The transparant iPad concept. We love it and think it's almost a given that tablet computers will look very similar to this concept design in the near future.
Continuing our quick look at some of the iPad related announcements at this year's Winter NAMM we have a couple of products from Behringer to mention.
This seems very much like Behringer's version of the already available iO Dock by Alesis, with a lower price tag. Comparing the two, they have very similar specs and input/output options. Have a look at the images below for a visual comparison.
The other connections for the iO Dock are on the sides as shown below:
Current prices for the Alesis iO Dock seem to be around £139+, with prices for Behringer's iS202 not generally available, but B&H have them listed at the moment for $149.99 (about £95). If the Behringer is generally available for under £100, we think it has a good chance of success.
Check out the specs for the iStudio (iS202) at Behringer's site and the video below for a brief preview.
iX16 Digital Mixer
The iX16 digital mixer has been specifically designed to integrate with your iPad as the controller. The iX16 has 16 audio inputs (hence its name we guess). The controller app can control the sound mix over WiFi, so you can stroll around the venue with your iPad and stand exactly where you need to be to get the perfect mix, while the iX16 sits on the sound desk responding to your input.
It's all a bit clever really and not our area of expertise to be honest, but we have done our fair share of show and concert setups between us. The iX16 and accompanying software is definitely on our wishlist.
For the full details check out the iX16 page and be sure to take a look at the video below for a brief look at the iX16 and the iStudio iS202 from musicianews.com (if you are watching this on your iPad, the video stops at around 3:32 but will carry on playing with a blank screen until 8:09).
Next up in our brief look at iPad announcements from this year's Winter NAMM, are a couple of announcements from Alesis.
DM Dock and Dock Pro Kit
We have seen a few innovations in the field of iPad use for drummers, but Alesis have made a serious attempt to capture the attention of drummers who want to have the iPad at the heart of their sound.
Featuring a healthy 13 x 1/4 inch trigger inputs, the DM (Drum Module) Dock is like a souped-up iO Dock for standalone use with your existing electronic pads/kits or frame mounted as an integrated part of the Dock Pro Kit.
There are also the usual MIDI connections and a footswitch port so you can change kits on-the-fly using compatible apps. These apps also allow a quick change of sound sets using drag and drop so the possibilities are pretty much endless given the amount of downloadable sound sets that are out there.
We originally saw the iO Mix being demonstrated at MusikMesse last year but it has featured again at NAMM and because it reminds us so much of our original Fostex tape based 4-track recorder we wanted to give it a mention.
Touted as the world's first iPad dedicated multi-channel mixer/recording interface, the iO Mix enables input of mics, instruments and other audio via 4 x combo XLR/standard 1/4" jacks. As you would hope, each channel has individual trim, gain and pan controls (just like your old 4-track) and even some EQ control.
Importantly for us it also features a guitar DI input so that you don't need a seperate amp, useful for on-the-go mobile recording.
Like the DM Dock above, the iO Mix will charge your iPad when docked and fully encloses it inside the unit so it is nice and snug, but also up to a little knocking about in the (bedroom) studio.
We found a quick demo of the iO Mix at NAMM 2013 on YouTube, from Netherlands based audio suppliers Bax, so thanks to them for sharing this video, check it out below.
As before, if you have any comments or want to let us know what you are looking forward to seeing, we would love to see them below.
If you create music on or via your iPad, you need to know about some of the very cool stuff announced at the Winter NAMM Show that has taken place over the last few days in California.
There is a lot to get excited about as always, so in the next few posts we are going to highlight some of the shiny new tech announced for your iPad.
As anyone who has tried it knows, switching settings or presets in the middle of a song using any of the iPad guitar FX sims is pretty tricky and worst of all, it means taking your hands off the guitar which usually requires adapting the way you play the song to allow time for poking at the touch screen.
Foot controllers are the natural solution to this problem and this is not the first Bluetooth foot controller for iOS we have seen, but it might be the nicest looking.
The BlueBoard ($99.99 / €79.99) is a wireless MIDI controller (so it should work with most MIDI apps you have on your iPad. It is advertised as working up to about 30ft away from your main iPad rig, so you could set it up on the other side of the stage for those spotlight solos whilst retaining some control over your virtual pedal setup. It will also work with your iPhone/iPod Touch and your Mac if you have one.
Check out the video below and the web page for more details, suffice to say, we want one very badly!
iRig HD a 24-bit A/D convertor, with thumbwheel adjustable pre-amp on the device and digital noise reduction plus many other features, but what really stood out for us is that this device can be used with your Mac too via an interchangeable cable that features USB, 30-pin and Lightning dock connectors.
This is for us a brilliant feature that means purchasing less cables or audio devices for musicians who use both iOS and Computer based processing/recording apps.
We have yet to hear what it really sounds like, but we are really keen to find out and we will be looking out for some good samples in the near future.
More details again on the web page and in the video below:
We are always interested to hear what you think and what announced products you are looking forward to seeing (or maybe just adding to your wishlist). Let us know in the comments below.
As far as we know there isn't a third party app that offers 48 or 60 frames per second (HFR) video capture on the iPad. SloMo used to offer 60fps capture on iPhone hardware at 720p, but that feature never quite made its way to the iPad.
We are hoping that the recent interest in high framerate video capture, thanks to the HFR cinematic release of The Hobbit, might create a swell of public interest in HFR video capture. HFR certainly would not be ideal for every scenario, but it would be very handy to at least have the option, right there in the default camera app, to switch to HFR mode. Of course iMovie would have to support HFR too... come to think of it, HFR would be perfect for some stunning iMovie slow motion video effects too!
Things are moving so swiftly on the iPad creative scene. Just over a year after Savage provided an HD canvas in Procreate, version 1.7 embraces the next step in high-end display sizes, 4K.
It's hard to believe that a thin tablet computer costing as little as $329 has the power to support touch painting at 60fps on a 10MP canvas, or 16MP for the iPad 3/4, but such is the speed at which the iPad is pushing into new territory. The latest version of Procreate features a wealth of other new feature - go hit the update button now.
As an aside, we are thrilled to see the stunning artwork of Nikolai Lockertsen featured within the app and on the Procreate web site!
App Store Link: Procreate
We are huge fans of Sega's final games console. Given that it was released in November 1998, the Dreamcast provided a surprisingly solid hardware platform for so many of the classic video games of that era. As we've mentioned before, the iPad is in many ways the spiritual successor to the Dreamcast, so it's deeply satisfying to see two epic Dreamcast titles make their way to the iPad recently.
Crazy Taxi is frantic free roaming time challenge driving game that oozes character. Jet Set Radio, with its cell-shaded graphics and quirky design/music is a totally unqiue experience that should not be missed.
Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue together constitute the Dreamcast's 'big 3'. We are hoping that every Dreamcast conversion gets us that little bit closer to playing Shenmue on the iPad. We can't wait!
Further Reading: We Want: Shenmue for iPad
ZAGG, the iPad and iPhone accessories maker who we have mentioned many times, is about to begin it's Black Friday promotional competition. At the time of writing, details of the competition are a little thin on the ground, but I'm sure everything will became apparent soon enough, but with an iPad 4 being given away every hour, things could get exciting very quickly. You can avoid missing out on a chance to win one of 24 iPads that are up for grabs by using ZAGG's reminder service.
If you've already been tempted by one of ZAGG's excellent iPad covers or cases, you might want to make your purchase this Friday as ZAGG is giving away a free pair of Plugz Earbuds with every purchase over $19.99 during Black Friday.
Further Reading: See all our iPad accessory articles.
The rumours were true, the iPad mini exists, and will arrive in stores and in the hands of those who preordered on 2nd November. Perhaps the real surprise, though, is the availability of the next generation regular sized iPad on the very same day.
Pushing the iPad platform up
The new iPad, which we will be referring to as the iPad 4 from herein, is essentially the iPad we expected to see in March 2013. It's an impressive push upwards, doubling both the CPU and GPU power of the iPad 3 in just 8 months. With the iPad 4, Apple has created a tablet computer that is fully capable of running just about any collection of code that Apple or third party developers can realistically conceive of. We can't overstate how impressive the iPad 4 is on paper. It's a tablet computer with the general computing power of an iMac from just a few years ago and graphics power equal to the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360. Combine this power with a 3 mega pixel display and a 10 hour battery life and it's not at all hard to see why the iPad 4 is such an important piece of computing hardware.
Pushing the iPad plaform down
We believe that the smaller display of the iPad mini will restrict it's productivity for the kind of activities that we feature on iPad Creative. Having said that, we are completely confident that tablet computers are the future of general purpose computing, so expanding the range is the right thing to do at this time.
The iPad mini is the new entry level iPad. If Tim Cook felt that the best way of protecting the more profitable end of the range was to reduce the size of the display, then so be it. We think that many iPad mini owners will eventually upgrade to the full 9.7" experience, or perhaps even own both.
In our next article we'll take a look at where Apple can push the iPad next. If the iPad 4 is the iPad we expected Apple to launch in 2013, where does that leave the possibility of a refresh in Spring 2013?