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iPad Air?

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.

iPad at NAMM 2013 - Behringer

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.

iStudio iS202

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).

iPad at NAMM 2013 - Alesis

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.

More details are available on the DM Dock product page and the official Press Release

iO Mix

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.

iPad at NAMM 2013 - IK Multimedia

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.

iRig BlueBoard

IK Multimedia had several new products to announce at NAMM this year, but this is the one that got us the most excited.  

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

More than just an update for the much loved (and to be honest still default for us) iRig guitar interface, the iRig HD is another device altogether.  

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.

We Want: Native iPad HFR (48fps) video capture

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!

Procreate updated, now supports 4K (yes, that's 16MP!) canvas sizes

Procreate

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

Foldify, a different take on 3D printing

Foldify from Pixle on Vimeo.

It may not be 3D printing in the popular sense of the term, but it sure does look like a cheap way to dip a toe into the future. Out on the 13th December, Foldify allows iPad owners to 'draw, create, print and fold' 3D figures. It's the interaction between the virtual and physical that's really fired my imagination. App Store Link: Foldify

Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi. Classic Dreamcast games find a new home on the iPad

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!

App Store Links: Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio

Further Reading: We Want: Shenmue for iPad

ZAGG is giving away 24 iPad's in 24 hours

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.

Thoughts on iPad 4 and iPad mini

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.

Where next?

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?

Watch the iPad Mini rumours turn into reality... probably

In a break with recent tradition, Apple will be providing a live video stream of the "a little more to show you" event this evening. Everything kicks off at 10:00 AM PDT. Though we are eager to see Apple's take on the smaller tablet, we're more excited about the possibility of updated software and services.

Head back here tomorrow to read our take on Apple's new releases.

ArtStudio reaches version 5 with some impressive new tools

Highlights seem to be the new colour filters and the Heal and Elastify tools. We must admit, we've not used ArtStudio a great deal in recent months, but we like the look of some of these refinements and new features. Perhaps it's time to give ArtStudio another look.

App Store Link: ArtStudio

An essential GarageBand Smart Strings tutorial video

The new Smart Strings section in GarageBand for iOS is a real gem, but its true power is easily missed. Learn how to use it effectively with this 7 minute tutorial video from Lynda.com. For the full 2.5 hour GarageBand course, head on over to Lynda.com.

Further Reading: See all our GarageBand related posts

Bad Piggies, more creative physics based fun from Rovio

Flipping Angry Birds on its head, Bad Piggies is an all new game from the pigs point of view. We've only played it briefly, but we think Rovio has another enormous hit on its hands. We can see ourselves spending countless hours creating vehicles to fly, drive and crash our little green friends to their destinations. Best of all, Bad Piggies encourages creativity and experimentation, we're all for that!

App Store Link: Bad Piggies HD (iPad only)

Further Reading: See all our gaming posts

Sue Hawkins by Dan Hoffman

We just love this!

Star Wars Stormtrooper iPad cover

Ralph McQuarrie was one of the most talented artists of our modern era. His work on the original Star Wars trilogy also made him one of the most famous. Ask people what they remember most about any of the original movies and something from the imagination of Ralph McQuarrie will likely come to mind. Darth Vader's helmet and mask, the beautiful Cloud City, or the chicken-like strut of the Scout Walker, all come from the mind of McQuarrie.

As big fans of his work, we were only too pleased to review the Stormtrooper iPad cover from Zeon. It's a simple soft silicon cover that provides bump protection for the iPad as well as bringing one of McQuarrie's most memorable designs to the iPad.

It's a solid cover that will appeal to Star Wars fans. Like many of these rubber covers, the bottom edge, by the home button, is a little on the feeble side, but it's generally a quality cover that will likely last the lifetime of your iPad. The official branding of the case and packaging makes it a superb gift option. It's designed for the iPad 2 and 3 only.

The Stormtrooper iPad cover is available from Mobile Fun at £19.95.

It's worth noting that Mobile Fun carries a large selection of iPad cases, covers and sleeves.

Further Reading: See all our accessories posts

Another perfect portrait by David Chong!

We make no excuses for featuring David's work again. This new portrait is just stunning! Painted using Brushes 2 in about 4.5 hours, completely freehand.

Ipad finger painting model for mauboussin by chaseroflight d5filwr

Further Reading: All posts featuring the work of David Chong

The remarkable iPad paintings of Andrey Malykh

Andrey Malykh (known as Barindoma on Flickr) is a rare talent. Working mostly with Procreate, Andrey has created one of the most impressive catalogues of iPad paintings we've seen. From the bright beauty of 'The Embankment' and 'Spring in Porvoo' to the skilful simplicity of 'Konstantin Sleeps', Andrey's work is inspiring. Be sure to catch all of Andrey's new paintings by following his Flickr stream.

Further Reading: All posts relating to iPad painting 

Mars Curiosity by Luis Peso

Mars Curiosity iPad Painting

We have been absolutely mesmerised by the adventures of the Mars Curiosity rover. The images it captures will likely inspire artists for years to come.

Luis Peso has created this atmospheric painting using Inspire Pro. He's also been kind enough to provide a video of its creation.

Further Reading: All posts featuring the work of Luis Peso | Explore Mars from the Comfort of your iPad

Apple, please don't change the iPad screen ratio, we like it just as it is!

"With this unique relationship that people have with their iPhone, we take changing it really seriously". So begins the iPhone 5 introduction video from Apple. With the iPhone 5, Apple is introducing the biggest change to the iPhone hardware design since its inception. The move to an 16:9 ratio display is a big deal indeed and one that we hope doesn't make its way to the iPad next year.

Sure, the narrow 16:9 ratio is pretty good for consuming video and photo content and is most certainly well suited to flicking through long lists of social media updates, but when it comes to creating content, we believe that the standard 4:3 ratio of the iPad is a much better fit.