Nick Parker at Evolver.fm has some interesting things to say about the state of music apps for iOS, arguing that the idea of an iPad recording studio is still a dream that’s out of reach:
Tablet hype continues at a fever pitch, but we shouldn’t get too cocky about the iPad or any other tablet replacing everything we can already do with a mouse, keyboard and old-fashioned desktop.
Case in point: We recently set out to find a MIDI control surface for iPad that could supercharge a home recording studio with its touch controls and sharp screen. The iPad seems almost custom-made for acting as the main interface to your home studio, but every app we tested came up way short.
Despite many pained hours hunting for, installing, and trying to comprehend these apps, we’ve written a story we didn’t set out to write: the narrative of why these apps — and, by extension, the tablet — are simply not up to the task.
Yes, it is possible to record directly onto the iPad into a digital audio workstation. But for real-time multitracking, no mobile hardware can get even close to delivering the required processing power to record — especially considering the demands of real-time effects plug-ins.
To a certain degree, Parker is right – tablet computers like the iPad are not as powerful as workstations and tablet software isn’t as mature as desktop DAWs.
But Parker’s cup-is-half-empty view also is stating the obvious – and missing the point.
Tablets computers are the fastest growing platform for music, and there’s a lot that you can do with them. On the iPad, there are multitrack recorders, DAWs, synths, workstations, virtual instruments and experimental music instruments. It’s a pretty impressive crop of software for a platform that’s not even two years old yet.
The real question to ask is whether tablet computers are useful to you as a musical tool.
For many musicians, the answer will be a resounding ‘no’. The iPad and Android music platforms just aren’t mature yet.
For musicians that are excited by new possibilities, though, and that can take a cup-is-half-full view of the iPad and other emerging tablets, there’s tremendous room for discovery, experimentation and – yes, fun.
What do you think? Is the iPad recording studio ‘a dream’?
And does it make sense to use desktop computers as the measure to compare tablets against?