Making music with the iPad is undoubtedly going to be a fun experience. It has all the ingredients to a successful music platform, but there are of course a few caveats that you should be aware of.
Let’s jump right into it, then. Will the iPad get any of the major music production sweets ported over to it? That would be the best possible thing us beat makers and producers want to hear, isn’t it? Propellerheads, who make Reason (the hugely successful Mac/PC music platform), have left the door wide open for a Reason-like program on the iPad. Controller applications are certainly inevitable for Apple’s latest offering, and Novation and Steinberg have already developed applications for the iPhone and iPod touch so you can control your computer’s programs – to move faders and twist knobs and so on – but no full-fledged software has made its way onto these mobile devices yet.
Some portable beat maker applications show the fragility of the iPhone, draining battery life quickly and not being very user friendly; the ones that are easy to use are ridiculously limited. There must be a compromise, but with the iPad coming out, chances are that the bigger screen and improved processing will allow for more generous offerings.
It is still unclear exactly how suitable it is for music production. Music makers are accustomed to using their fingers and hands to create and compose their tunes obviously, and without tactile response it is going to be tough to really feel the music you’re putting in.
Nobody has yet seen the device in action and so it is very hard to estimate how comfortable it will be to use it in music production. Another fear for Apple and consumers alike is drum pads and musical keyboard on the screen being hit too hard and therefore damaging the sensitivity and the screen’s appearance itself; even cracks could be on the horizon! If you really get into the music hard, it would be suggested to skip the iPad if it ends up having products like this adorn the Apple Store.
Another reason that the music may be limited is that for longer sessions that creative, hard-working musicians will be used to, sweaty or moist fingers do become an issue. Even the slightest moisture will prevent accurate screen tracking. Live performance use is also on the cards if the device delivers in a controlled environment after it has been tested and reviewed extensively. Until then, this is all speculation. What can you do in the meantime? Brush up on your musical knowledge and techniques so that when the new device’s capabilities have been determined, you can attack at full flight and make some great music on the go.