Does Apple’s iPad 2 Announcement Make The Competition Irrelevant For Musicians?

Apple today introduced iPad 2, an updated version of its market-dominating multitouch computer that features a thinner design, Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor, two cameras and 10 hours of battery life.

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, with faster Safari mobile browsing performance; iTunes Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay;  a built-in gyro and HDMI Video Mirroring.

Apple also introduced two new iPad apps: iMovie and GarageBand for iPad, both available for $4.99 each. GarageBand turns the iPad into a fairly powerful mobile DAW.

The announcement, though not especially surprising, may send the tablet competition back to the drawing board, because the alternatives are higher priced and fail to deliver mainstream features that leap-frog Apple’s offering. They also face the liability of empty app stores, compared to the iPad’s 65,000 apps.

Tech analysts at ZDnet are calling the iPad 2 upgrade “enough to kill the competition.”

While the iPad 2 platform is still a flawed platform for musicians – we have to agree with ZDNet. Based on what’s currently available, expect the iPad 2 to further establish the iPad as the dominant mobile music making platform.

The last few months have seen an explosion of increasingly sophisticated iPad music apps. If this continues, it’s safe to assume that some of these apps will develop into mature tools in 2011.

What do you make of today’s Apple announcements, and the state of alternatives for mobile music making?

Here’s a comparison of some of the current tablet computers:


Platform iPad 2 Motorola Xoom HP TouchPad BlackBerry Playbook
Display 9.7-inch
LED-backlit IPS LCD
10.1-inch 9.7-inch 7-inch LCD
Resolution 1024 x 768 1280 x 800 1024 x 768 1024 x 600
Processor 1GHz dual-core
Apple A5
1GHz dual-core
NVIDIA Tegra 2
1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz dual-core
TI OMAP4430
Memory ? 1GB RAM 1GB RAM 1GB RAM
Storage 16GB / 32GB / 64GB 32GB 16GB / 32GB 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Front camera VGA 2 megapixel 1.3 megapixel 3 megapixel
Rear camera 720 / 30p video 5 megapixel AF with dual-LED flash,
720 / 30p video
none 5 megapixel,
1080p video
Cellular radio Quadband HSPA or
CDMA / EV-DO Rev. A
3G with free upgrade to 4G LTE 3G and 4G 3G and 4G
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR 2.1 + EDR 2.1 + EDR 2.1 + EDR
Accelerometer 3-axis 3-axis Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes
Battery 25Wh 6,500mAh 6,300 mAh 5,300 mAh
Thickness 8.8mm 12.7mm 13.7mm 10mm
Weight 601g (WiFi),
607g (Verizon),
613g (AT&T)
725g 740g 425g

via Engadget, ZDnet


41 thoughts on “Does Apple’s iPad 2 Announcement Make The Competition Irrelevant For Musicians?

  1. Intersting. The Xoom have better specs than the iPad 2. iPad 2? Kill the competition? Nah. Second place from the start. :)

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  2. What do you mean? The Xoom has the least impressive specs for musician! It wastes processing power into vain resolution while HP and Blackberry have much more promising processors!!! You know that the Tegra is not so hot out side of 3d gaming, which this article is NOT about. We don't know what sort magic lies in the custom A5, and also there is not any talk about perhaps the most important component for us, the sound chip(which I have been told to be comparably high quality in iPad 2).

    Android also has problems in its sound management, so theres no music software, not even coming according several developers I have conversated with. Android is actually ridiculed in this scene. So Xoom is not only in last place, its out of the game entirely.

    Its all there, black and white, clear as crystal. You get nothing! You lose! Good day Sir!

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  3. I've tried real freakin' hard not to be a fanboy, but Apple makes it too difficult. I wanted to see Android do something with all it's openness, all of it's young creative minds, but as fast as they pump out new firmware and hardware they've still got a long way before they can even be considered in the same breath as Apple and music. People are doing live shows, right now, wherever you are, with iPads. iOS 4.2 has core MIDI support. New iPad to have Thunderbolt/Light Peak. Apple keeps improving on the creative aspect of sharing your device while the others are still stuck in the personal content devouring game. I have more faith in Microsoft and RIM than Android at this point, but I think Apple is always going to be two steps ahead of everyone.

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  4. damn, it is not about hardware anymore again, we need a good piece of software for this stuff to work! Any good multitouch sequencer with midi?! Any Midi looper a'la Ableton Live? Any physics at midi/osc controllers?! — That's all we're waiting for, not Hd cameras ot whatever new slimline design.

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  5. Hardware shardware. It's the apps that matter. I've been waiting to get an iPad 2 just for the Reactable clone, and the Korg apps. The other iPad apps will be a bonus.

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  6. zvukofor – yes it is time for the software to catch up. The iPad is already more powerful than PCs were when Ableton Live came out.

    I like the camera on the iPad though. Who needs a Kinect if you have a build in HD video camera?

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  7. Its a fancy expensive cat toy the fan boys like to rub their dicks on, but little more. Will never buy. Will never use.

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  8. can you write any articles about apple products without using headlines drenched in hyperbole and sensationalism?

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  9. "The iPad is already more powerful than PCs were when Ableton Live came out."

    No. That's no even close to true. When Ableton came out in fall of 2001 the 2GHz Pentium 4 and dual processor motherboards were widely available.

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  10. You could have the greatest hardware in the world, but it means nothing if theres no intuitive music software for it. Apple just added velocity dynamics to the iPad 2 and gave it a gyroscope, so now you can do vibratos and other articulations. The ipad 2 is a serious and beautiful instrument because of it's creative applications and it's precise interface.

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  11. The specs for the Xoom (and other iPad competitors) miss several critical specifications for musicians: "audio latency"

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  12. The specs don't suggest there is much difference between the devices. Not that specs make much difference in the eyes of the vast majority of people – you know, those non-techy people who don't hang out on techy blogs perpetuating the same tired old arguments year in, year out.

    Which means there is only one statistic from the iPad 2 announcement that "makes the competition irrelevant"…

    90% Market Share.

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  13. What's the point of a music "DAW" when there are no audio or MIDI inputs? I'm really struggling to see how people can think it's even useful, let alone the "best" portable DAW.

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  14. Yes, but some incredibly feature rich synthesizers have used 1mhz processors.

    Without software, hardware is stupid…and every of these tablets are in a same league anyway, and if you are going to make really ambitious software, its so expensive, that you have to make it for iPad 1-2.

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  15. The iPad is cheaper and has 60,000 more apps than other tablets, which is a huge factor for everyone that doesn't need a niche requirement.

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  16. Just as the competition seems about to catch up, Apple leaps ahead (again). The pattern of the iphone is being repeated, expect the competition to perhaps be credible in 3yrs time. Amuses me how people like to compare devices that you can't even buy yet with those that have been in the shops for a year! These are many of the same people who a year ago delighted us all with there predictions that the iPad would be a massive flop. 16m users disagreed…….

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  17. Because there are audio and midi inputs and outputs. You just need to know where to look….

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  18. Well, not on the iPad2 specs on the Apple web site, that's for sure. If I want to plug in a keyboard controller or a guitar lead, what do I need to use? There aren't any suitable accessories on the Apple site.

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  19. Oxford: I use an iRig to plug my guitar and synth in. I don’t think Apple makes a hardware interface for it themselves.

    Old guys like me who started out on a cassette 4-track as teenagers would have killed for this back then. Killed. The fact that some iHaters can’t see a use for it makes me wonder if they’re really musicians at all, or just trolls cruising by.

    My iPad now takes the place of my huge stack of sheet music (not having to haul Real Book 1-3 to Jazz gigs is soooo nice), my tuner, my metronome, and my ancient VS-880 that I used for a mobile field recorder.

    Will I ever mix/master an album on it? Probably not, I’ve got too nice of a studio setup at home. Will I use it to do demos? Damn right.

    And have no doubt, there are people for who *will* use this to make albums. An iPad, an iRig and a USB microphone, and you’re good to go.

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    • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I now have a badass touchscreen controller that I use in Ableton with TouchOSC.

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  20. THIS JUST IN! MOTOROLA XOOM IS 100000000X MORE POWERFUL BUT SINCE THE USER EXPERIENCE AND MIDI IMPLEMENTATION IS SO WRETCHED, THE MUSIC WORLD IGNORES IT.

    lol.

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  21. If we can hook up an external soundcard, it's game over for the competition. Well, it was never really game on for them, but….

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  22. Oxford: You ask, Apogee delivers. See the post a few up on the page now re: getting stuff into GarageBand.

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  23. Indeed, I just saw that :-) Are there any options for MIDI inputs so I can use my external keyboards to control the Garageband piano or organs etc.?

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  24. I like the iPad 2 because it vindicates my not buying an iPad 1. But it'll be iPad 3 before my planned expenditure on cottage industry modular electronics is exhausted… and, actually, I thought I'd like to be able to make music on my train-commute into work but, actually, I don't. It's good karma to have places and spaces for each of the things one likes to have in one's world.

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  25. Not that I don't want to make music on holidays… but my old MacBook plus Apogee and an LPK49 keyboard is portable and powerful enough…

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  26. Yet for all that, I salute the stylishness and genius of the team at Apple. They've done something truly marvellous for computing.

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  27. Oxford, with the camera connection kit from Apple you can plug in many USB MIDI keyboards and control apps. Supports MIDI out too. However power draw has to be tiny or it won't work. Many people use a USB to MIDI interface instead (I use a dead cheap Chinese ebay special which has MIDI in/out and works a treat).

    Now, I don't know if Garage Band will support MIDI but loads of othe apps do, including Korg IMS 20

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  28. I use the camera connection kit with my Novation X-Station; I just make sure that I use the wall wart for it.

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  29. The days when hardware specs mattered are long gone. The apps and the ease of use are all that matters now. In those departments, Apple has been way ahead from day one, and will remain so until the next "big paradigm shift".

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  30. Is that a Nord Lead in screen shot. Could it be some kind of hint. A simple lead now, but what if Clavia revived Nord Modular in iPad form? I would go crazy immediately.

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  31. Is the iRig connector the same thing as the Apogee unit? If so, I'll save some money and buy the $39.99 iRig as opposed to the $99.00 Apogee gizmo!

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  32. ITS THE APPS GUYZ!!

    IT's like in the old days, a Apple Macintosh vs. an Amiga..both use the 68000, but the Amiga has all the bells and whistles. But guess what, all the killer music apps are on the Macintosh and the Amiga crashes a lot. Expect the same sort of experience with android vs. iOS. Android devices have lots of bells and whistles, but where are the apps to exploit them, an open platform permits everyone to play but it doesn't encourage competition and good design. Also it welcomes virus makers and abuse. Mark my word android will have more problems with it over time than either the iPad or iPod. Part of it is due to the fact that apple makes the hardware and the operating system. Linux is only good on common hardware, if you have uncommon hardware, it is buggy. IOS is intimate with iPod and iPad, so it's up to the app developers to make full use of the hardware.

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