What The Apple iPad Means For Music

steve-jobs-ipad

Steve Jobs today introduced the Apple iPad, a handheld multitouch computer, and it’s likely to be the biggest music technology introduction of the year.

The Apple iPad, conceptually, is a large iPod touch.

However, what Apple has really done is create a new device that builds on what it has learned with the iPhone and iPod touch. The operating system, and the applications that Apple includes, are optimized for both the size of the hardware and the types of things that you would want to do with a device this size.

Here’s Apple official Apple iPad introduction video:

A lot of people are going to take a look at the iPod and react to what it’s not, and react to what Apple left out. People are already complaining about the lack of their favorite port or that it’s based on the iPhone OS instead of Mac OS X. No Flash support! No MIDI out! DRM!!!!

The iPad backlash is entirely predictable and is a standard part of the technology hype cycle. The iPad backlash is a distraction from figuring out what the real role of devices like the iPad is going to be.

When I look at the Apple iPad, I remember how crappy every cell phone was before Apple came out with the iPhone. To see the potential of the iPad, look beyond existing devices, and think about what the iPad can do.

I see a coherent, viable vision for tablet computing that’s 5 years ahead of any other company’s.

The iPad will be immediately useful as a musical tool, because it runs countless existing iPhone apps.

As developers adapt their apps to the larger real estate, though, the Apple iPad will come into its own as a new platform for music.

Look at what has been happening with the JazzMutant Lemur as a malleable music controller and look at what has already been happening with iPhone music apps, and it’s clear that music developers are going to have fun with the Apple iPad.

For a taste of what may be coming, check out Jim Heinz’s iSample:

Take that as a starting point – day 1 for the Apple iPad as a music platform. Give iSample some real estate and it’s going to be exponentially more interesting.

The iPad won’t replace the power of a dedicated music computer – but it is creating a new platform that will support new types of mobile music making and new ways of controlling and playing music.

And, while I think the iPad is going to prove to be a big deal – I would like to know what Apple has planned for multitasking, file management, access to the iTunes library, third-party device support and more.

Check out the specs for the Apple iPad below and let us know what you think.

Is this thing going to change the way you make music this year?

Apple iPad Features:

  • 9.7″ Full capacitive multitouch screen
  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Support for 1024 x 768 with Dock Connector to VGA adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component A/V Cable, 576i and 480i with Apple Composite Cable
  • H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • .5″ thick
  • 1 GHz Apple A4 processor
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Audio formats supported: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • WiFi 802.11n
  • Built-in speaker, microphone, 30-pin connectors
  • Accelerometer
  • Compass
  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
  • Runs all iPhone apps
  • 3G wireless options, with a $30/month unlimited plan

Pricing:

  • Wifi models
    • 16GB – $499
    • 32GB – $599
    • 64GB -$699
  • 3G models
    • 16GB – $629
    • 32GB – $729
    • 64GB -$829

79 thoughts on “What The Apple iPad Means For Music

  1. After a few revisions I might get interested. This isn’t supposed to replace a laptop. This is a new class of device. You ever watch star trek? Look at what they were carrying around. That’s what it’s for. On another note, we should all wait and see just what developers do with the SDK and what ideas come out of this thing. It might get a bit more interesting after that. Keep an open mind, there’s much promise. 😉

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    1. Yes – if people want to load up linux and hack it and hook up their USB peripherals, they should get a cheap PC laptop.

      This is an toaster computer. It's just going to work. There are going to be a bazillion apps for it, and it will be a no-brainer to install and use them.

      I actually like that it gets rid of the wires. They are forcing the idea that everything should be wireless.

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  2. And who's going to want the frankentablet that you're suggesting – with all sorts of connections and open source software?

    About 10 geeks.

    Companies have tried making exactly what you're suggesting, but nobody remembers the other tablets, because they tried to make everybody happy and came out with kludgy solutions.

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  3. All i wanted was a device that had the wonder of 3-5 point multi-touch interfacing and that would run OSX (or windows) programs smoothly.

    I especially think that a Multi-touch editor for my Nord G2, Arturia Moog Modular, Reaktor, Max/MSP or any other modular software with lots of wire connections would speed up editing DRAMATICALLY.

    Also Multiple launch capability that Multi-touch could add to Ableton would have been speedy too.

    The least they could have done is allow this thing to remote wi-fi your existing system so that you can control your studio computer from elsewhere in the room or house via wi-fi/bluetooth/3g.

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    1. i wasnt going to leave but the guy above hit on the nail if apple werent pricks and lets this thing hook up to ableton, a g2 , or the vst moog modular and it could be use for a touch controller id be be able about with its bulky ass screen

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    2. VNC for the iPhone has been around for quite a while. I bet it'll be adapted for the iPad's larger screen as well. Great idea!! Maybe I will get one. 😉

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    3. Touch OSC, Automap … this already exists. Not sure what your issues are. Specific manufacturers making their own programmers…complain to the manufacturers of their closed keyboard operating systems…or start a petition to have ALL music equipment manufacturers switch to open standard operating systems and code-bases. Otherwise do your homewok and look at the solutions THAT ALREADY EXIST. Sheesh

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  4. Seems like a very nice over-sized iPhone. Based on everything so far, it totally does seem overhyped to me.

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  5. Just saw the live blogging on the new iPad. Survey says…meh. No USB or Firewire, no Garageband equivalent, no multitasking…maybe DJ's can use this thing, but…not for $700 for mediocre storage. No thank you.

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  6. No. It wont change a thing about how I make music, because I dont want to look like a douche with an oversized iPhone.

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  7. Exactly. Other computer makers are all working on the SAME THING but built around open connection standards like USB. This thing will be locked completely down, and you will probably have to Jail break it if you want to install apps that apple doesnt approve of (and we all know how consistent they are with that).

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  8. Just no. Do not want. Ever. If they about-turn and start supporting open development, then maybe, but I'm not paying £400-£500 for vendor lock-in. Fucking bullshit. I used to like Apple.

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  9. As a dj who uses Torq a M-audio product actively sold in Apple stores… I was really looking forward to this…but where is the USB??? Plug into this in anyway so far as I can see. Substandard storage 🙁 for my music……which suppose if there had been USB I could have worked around using a external drive 🙁

    I'm just keep using my old macbook pro till they put some more thought into the future IPAD's
    which will likely be out in a year or so lol

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  10. As a dj who uses Torq a M-audio product actively sold in Apple stores… I was really looking forward to this…but where is the USB??? Plug into this in anyway so far as I can see. Substandard storage 🙁 for my music……which suppose if there had been USB I could have worked around using a external drive 🙁

    I'm just keep using my old macbook pro till they put some more thought into the future IPAD's
    which will likely be out in a year or so lol

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  11. The point of this thing is to be closed and reliable, like Reason, isn't it.

    Go to the app store, load up some apps and just have it work?

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  12. And who's going to want the frankentablet that you're suggesting – with all sorts of connections and open source software?

    About 10 geeks.

    Companies have tried making exactly what you're suggesting, but nobody remembers the other tablets, because they tried to make everybody happy and came out with kludgy solutions.

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  13. Im think its a great thing for live music,or djing but hope to see a pro model with osx ,and usb/firewire connections to hook up a midi controller. im hoping ableton makes a app for it!

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  14. I love my iPhone but I absolutely cannot tolerate any of the music making apps on it! The screen real-estate is just too limiting for the kind of control you need. The iPad, to me, is the first opportunity to have slick, touch-based music-making apps at an accessible price (Lemur is way too much!)

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  15. shit, i was shure they will release a small mac in tablet form.
    now we get a oversised iphone with als restrictions… i use a mac, but i hope android and chrome is become the new standard platform in the future. there are still possibilties for making music with an ipad but there are a lot more with an open source system running on a multitouch pad…

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  16. I don't think this device will do as much as you think for us musicians… in fact I think we are a bit fooled into believing it will. I think CDM did a great job in pointing out some of the weaknesses of this device and I fully agree with what is said in that article.
    This is not a device for creative people, this is specifically targeted towards the average joe consumer. Of course there will be still some great apps to play with, but I don't know if having more screen estate will really make it less of a toy than the iphone.

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  17. Exactamundo, I don't really use Apple hardware but all the talk of this tablet had me thinking maybe it'd be useful for connecting my audio interface to and recording band rehearsals with instead of a laptop, however no firewire and meagre HDD space makes this useless to me, it's a keyboard laptop, whoopdedoo, maybe in 2 or 3 revisions it'll prove useful, or maybe it'll end up like the apple cube…

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  18. I don't think this device will do as much as you think for us musicians… in fact I think we are a bit fooled into believing it will. I think CDM did a great job in pointing out some of the weaknesses of this device and I fully agree with what is said in that article.
    This is not a device for creative people, this is specifically targeted towards the average joe consumer. Of course there will be still some great apps to play with, but I don't know if having more screen estate will really make it less of a toy than the iphone.

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  19. Exactamundo, I don't really use Apple hardware but all the talk of this tablet had me thinking maybe it'd be useful for connecting my audio interface to and recording band rehearsals with instead of a laptop, however no firewire and meagre HDD space makes this useless to me, it's a keyboard laptop, whoopdedoo, maybe in 2 or 3 revisions it'll prove useful, or maybe it'll end up like the apple cube…

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  20. We will surely eat this up, as far as what it can do and what instruments it replaces… here’s a short list…

    Launch Pad
    Korg Kaossilator Pro
    Yamaha Tenorion
    Akai MPC-1000
    Monome
    Lemur
    Buchla 222e

    The iPad is running at 1GHz, many times faster than all these instruments. It’s the Live Controller from heaven.

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  21. @ rokas, too true man, too true:

    "When I look at the Apple iPad, I remember how crappy every cell phone was before Apple came out with the iPhone"

    yeah because we all know Apple reinvented the phone, you fail to mention that the original iphone lacked many standard features from other phones of the time, and other features it did have were way under par, but it did have multitouch, not that apple invented that…

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  22. So many troglodytes wanting to be tethered to their computers with midi cables, USB cords, FW cables. Like a bunch of fetuses not wanting to leave their mommies. Cables and ports are soon to be distant memories. Apple, show us the way.

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  23. It is overhyped.-

    …and no, no, no…its not a music tool…it has only a small output and its audio interface quality is for laughs…even if you want to connect it as a controller, you can't do it directly…or with the appropriate bandwidth…so my point is:

    With the current features it doesn't worth $499! Its a "device for all the family" and it would be worthy at half the money. Don't forget that it has so many restrictions in transferring files and installing apps…

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  24. @ Tim

    One word: latency. Sending MIDI data through TCP packets is a novel idea and cool in its own right. Would I rely on it to send consistent and accurate data, perhaps in a live setting? Absolutely not. *If* cables and ports are to become distant memories, I highly doubt it will be any time soon.

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  25. Touch OSC on an ipod touch has gotten me through at least 200 shows, including three nights at Bonnaroo, without a single hitch. I think the iPad holds great promise as a controller.

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  26. Touch OSC on this will be wicked, don't you think?

    These things will be $300-400 in a year, too, so they're going to make a lot of dedicated devices obsolete – like portable video players, dedicated GPS devices, cheap netbooks, etc.

    I'm not sure why everybody things the Lemur is awesome, but they hate the iPad, when the iPad is a quarter of the price and can run 150,000 applications.

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  27. Why so many negative comments?
    What is wrong with you people?
    Did I miss you have a contract with Apple in which Apple says it will make you endless happy for the rest of your life? Sorry, but I don´t get it and I am pissed off by so much negativism.
    Why don´t you just concentrate on the things it can do (and no one has an idea yet, not even S. Jobs or J. Ive, what will be realized in terms of future apps) instead of constantly bitching about what it CANNOT?
    iSample seems quiet promising to me by running on an iPad, I love it already on the iPhone.
    But I am not expecting a High End Production Tool !

    I don´t think it is good to get disappointed, but maybe it is helpful to learn more about yourself. But the key of being disappointed about a ¨technical device¨is a bit absurd and it always lies within your expectations.

    It is your business alone what you do with the device. Or just don´t do by not buying it.
    I don´t know what Tony wants to tell us by his comment – If you are afraid of ¨looking like a douche¨ you don´t need to worry. You won´t feel like a douche if you don´t do it.

    BTW: If guys like DM were afraid of using a drum computer on stage they wouldn't have done what they did.

    Michael

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  28. AndyG has a point though.

    You start adding all the junk that tech geeks want and you end up with a designed-by-committee Frankentablet that Microsoft could have pooped out.

    All this complaining about the iPad seems very whiny. You don't have to buy it!

    You could get a 1GB plastic netbook, instead – and have enough change left over to buy a portable DVD player so you could watch movies. You'd still need to get a Kindle and an iPod and a GPS, though.

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  29. I am very upset that Apple built this thing up to be the "jesus tablet"… It's a big ipod touch with very limited storage, closed OS, DRM, no camera, is slower than most of the new netbooks, no built-in keyboard, no USB, expensive, has a huge bezel… what does it do that I can't do with a macbook? WTF!!! I love my macbook and my 2 iMacs and my ipod touch… but WTF????

    On the sunny side, the Microsoft Courier looks to be sexy… (mostly cause it seems to do more and doesn't run windows)

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  30. I think you guys will probably change your mind about the Ipad when the music apps hit the market.
    If they would make an app to use with logic 9 I would become very interested (:

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  31. Oh, do you mean the iPad's complete lack of inputs/outputs that would make the device an actual autonomous computer instead of something that still relies on another system to charge and transfer files?

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  32. I'd actually like to see what applications will be developed to use the iPad as an instrument or controller — not just as a mixing or looping platform. All that touch-screen real estate has to be attractive to some of us — and combined with the accelerometer, that's easily an order of flexibility beyond the keyboard and trackpad for velocity and other dynamics.

    Or how about a simple guitar app that lets you strum with one hand while fingering your chords on an opposite corner? Or the next-gen Theramin?

    Sure, this is not a replacement for a 'real computer' — but it *is* this generation's WebTV; and it would be silly to dismiss it completely just because it's not what I (we) wanted or expected Apple to create.

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  33. Love It, and I will definitely buy It.
    The question is, will I'll be able to (patient enough) wait another 30 days for 3G…?!

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  34. How long will it take for other manufacturers to release something similar running windows and with USB/firewire ports? Instant hit! All our DAWs and VSTs on a great portable touch screen!

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  35. As a guitarist, I'm not excited about it's recording capabilities. I have plenty of portable recorders to do that. I am excited about the possibility of it displaying my tab or standard notation on this unit and not having to print the documents. The iphone has these apps but the screen is too small. The potential of putting the iPad on my music stand, selecting a song from my library and practicing it and making marks and changes with it using the touch screen. This would save me a lot of time and space.
    Only problem is that I'm not a developer so I have to hope that there will be someone who will produce this functionality. If that happens, the iPad be an incredible tool for musicians.

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  36. People pay hundreds of dollars for hardware units that are specific to performing a few tasks. Chaos pads? DAW Controllers? Fader Strips? Samplers? The iPad can and will do all of this.
    And more importantly: Ideas that we haven't come up with!
    This device will be as powerful as the programmers' imagination.
    BTW – Apple doesn't need to clutter the device with inputs for all users… The 30 pin connector on the bottom allows for many attachments. Most of them will be third party.
    I for one am excited for this device for many reasons. Music-wise, I expect a really cool sampler, with a fun multi-touch matrix and a nice gesture controlled controller for my DAW.

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  37. "When I look at the Apple iPad, I remember how crappy every cell phone was before Apple came out with the iPhone. "

    the author clearly has no idea what he is talking about, nor does he have any idea of what is beyond the borders of USA. There were PLENTY badass phones in Asia waaaaaay before the iPhone came out.

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  38. Quite agree, why are people not getting it?? The idea of a Multitouch Reason (for instance) is just the coolest thing you could imagine as a portable groovebox/sequencer/drum machine – and it's 1GHz, which is more than enough for such an application; as long the app had a full set of import/export options, which it would because even the iPhone apps do. It's as though none of the people on this forum have ever seen Star Trek! We are there people, get with the program!

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  39. Missing the point. Any attempt by any other 'manufacturer to release something similar' and have it run windows would, I believe, result in something completely rubbish. This is a portable device from the year 2010, it doesn't need freakin' USB! And as for running 'all our favourite DAWs and VSTs… they were not designed for this technology and would be a nightmare to twiddle on a screen. The iPad will bring about new ways of interacting with software, simplifying processes, making them more accessible and intuitive, and creating things that weren't possible before. Apple only facilitate this through the app store, it is developers that will make this happen.

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  40. And those badass phones made zero impact on the world and popular culture because their manufacturers did not understand their potential and would never in a million years have dreamt of the app store. It is the app store that makes the iPhone the iPhone. Not the hardware. Comparing things like megapixels or phone functions is completely missing the point.

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  41. trust me i have an android. this thing rocks. why in the world would i need to carry a backpack just to carry this i pad.. i have a touch screen computer cell phone in the palm of my hands. trust me. the ipad is no competition.

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  42. It depends on your needs. If you were looking to buy a Kindle this may blow that out of the water. If you're are a musician and would like to have digitized music charts like the MusicPad Pro the iPad at $499 sound a lot better than paying $899.

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  43. besides everything else, it isn't all that much more portable than a laptop. an iTouch can be thrown in a pocket for a jam, or that is, a dedicated portable music player can be thrown in a pocket. everyone wants more screen real estate, but the numbers on this thing are kind of weak

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  44. Its a fun little thing!
    Will I ever use it just to make music? Like I do in the apps I run on my PC or my MAC?

    Once it can store 5 terabytes of samples and 80 gigs of AU/VSTs, I might look into it as a DAW.

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