Apple’s long-awaited iPad was released on April 4 to massive press hype and generally positive reviews, moving more than 300,000 units (including pre-orders) in 24 hours. While Apple has consistently portrayed the tablet computer as a device for recreational home use—web surfing, streaming videos and so forth--early adoptors immediately began looking for different ways to put their new toys to work, and that included letting them loose in the arena of pro audio.
Out of the gate, the iPad can reportedly run most of the 150,000 apps currently available for the iPhone and iTouch, and Apple claims the new tablet debuted with more than 1,000 apps specifically made for it. With that in mind, the initial offerings that steer toward pro audio are scant, but they may well provide an indicator of where pro audio app developers plan to take the fledgling platform.
As might be expected, many are betting that the iPad will make for a decent, basic multi-track recorder.
• StudioTrack: Sonoma WireWorks, which created the popular FourTrack iPhone app, has released this eye-catching software, which lets users record up to eight tracks on a multitouch mixer.
• StudioMini XL Recording Studio from Fantastocrats is an expansion of its iPhone app, providing multitrack recording on seven audio tracks and a drum groove track.
Intriguingly, the concept of using the iPad as a DAW controller seems to have taken root, too. There isn’t just an app for that—there’s three:
• Saitara Software’s AC-7 Pro Control Surface for iPad, which can control Apple Logic, MOTU’s Digital Performer, Avid’s Pro Tools, and Mackie Control protocol.
• Talkative AB’s EnTrackMent, which currently can control Garageband, but expects to add support for Pro Tools, Logic and Record soon.
• Mix and Match MIDI Pad LE: For now, it’s a “limited edition”—hence the LE—that only works with Ableton Live, but programmer Jameson Proctor expects his MIDI controller app to control Logic, Max/MSP/Jitter, Pro Tools and others soon.
Maybe it’s due to the iPad being a similar size to old-school drum machines, but there’s seemingly a lot of beat-creation oriented apps out there, such as:
• Korg Electribe, which as you might gather from the name, is a faithful recreation of the Electribe•R's entire sound engine and sequencer.
• Insight’s BeatSequencer BoomBap, an expanded version of the iPhone mobile music production environment that allows you to produce, record, edit and arrange beats.
• Bleep Box, an electronic drum / synth box with no samples; all sounds controllable and synthesized in realtime.
And then there’s a few pro audio apps that don’t fit into any of these categories, including:
• XA1p, a high-end, realtime spectrum analyzer.
• Faber Acoustical’s SpeakerDraft, for optimizing bass response in loudspeaker designs.
• Reforge, a wave form editor that offers some effects and expects to include pitch effect, time stretch, peak filter, reverb, compressor and more soon.
In the days and months to come, there’s bound to be a ton of clever pro audio applications that will come along for iPad, but it’s interesting to see what was available on opening day. Now if we only had an iPad lying around so we could try out some of these apps….
Speaking of which--have you gotten an iPad? Tried out any of these or other music/audio apps yet? What do you think? Maybe you've decided you'll never get an iPad in a million years--why? Share your views in the comments below!