“Magical” and “Revolutionary” is the way Apple is describing their new 9.56 x 7.47 inch iPad to the public. But does this device really deliver for Musicians like you and me, who use Propellerhead Reason and Record?
Here’s the lowdown: I own an iPod Touch, and so I have a scaled down version of the iPad. Do I produce music on it? Nope. Do I want to? Maybe. Why don’t I? Because it’s finicky, toyish and still doesn’t have the feel of working in a real DAW or control of working in a real DAW. And worst of all, it doesn’t have any Propellerhead software on it.
On the positive side, I love the flat surface touch control. There’s no doubt that this is the most intuitive and tactile way to control any software. Give me touch, and give me more of it. Let me glide the faders and knobs with a single finger. Let me zoom in and out of areas by pinching and prying apart with my thumb and forefinger. Yeah! I love that.
I was reading in the latest issue of CM (Computer Music magazine) – issue 150, that the App developers were saying this would be a really great product. No offense, but that doesn’t tell me anything. Of course the App developers are going to start promoting the iPad. It gives them a platform to build more and better Apps for which they will make more and better money. Then I read how a certain person from a certain controller company thought the iPad wouldn’t be good for live performance (I share his belief, btw). But again, of course he’s going to dismiss the iPad because it will mean less sales for his company. Everything points to the fact that nobody really knows the impact the iPad will have. And it’s just too early to tell. And way too early to buy IMHO.
And then I read in the CM article that a certain head of Propellerhead software gave the iPad cautious praise. Does this perhaps hint at the possibility of the Props putting together an App of their own, specifically for the iPad? Perhaps. If that happens, I would most definitely give it a great deal more consideration. But this is all rumors and heresay for now. Nobody really knows. So save your money and put the $500 iPad cost to better use by getting an audio interface or nice set of monitors (ok, maybe just 1 monitor, but it’s a start).
Here’s what keeps nagging at me:
- Playing “Live” might be a problem due to the fact that the sensor technology is such that when you get all sweaty, the touching might not respond. And even if you’re not all sweaty, the touch system on my iPod Touch can be finicky and non-responsive at times. This still needs to be worked on.
- If you’re in the studio, it’s just an overgrown iPod (for now). It’s got the same apps, and the same OS running it. This means that you still can’t multitask, and existing apps don’t take advantage of the additional space.
- Did you hear me? It can’t MULTITASK. You can run one app at a time, no more. Which means you can’t run two plug-ins at once, or control a DAW and a synth at the same time.
- If it’s one thing I’ve learned from Apple, it’s never to buy the first product release. Why? Because they save all their goodies for v.2 and v.3 product launches. Right now this is nothing more than a larger iPod Touch. Wait 6 months for the iPad v.2 when Apple has had a chance to a) sort out the bugs, b) add new and improved functionality and c) app developers have had a chance to catch up.
Case in point: my girlfriend bought me the first release of the iPod Touch and 4 months later the iPod Touch release came out with double the amount of space for the same price. I understand that technology keeps moving forward, but Apple just doesn’t take a breather. And as a result, I become a very jaded customer who will never buy the first release. Of course, Apple probably doesn’t care one bit about this situation. There are plenty of others who will jump on the bandwagon to buy this device and even — god forbid — PREORDER! But hey, to each their own. And if you preorder, I wish you the best of luck with your new iPad. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The additional screen real-estate is great, and there’s no question that there is some promise here. It’s also light-weight. But let’s see some Apps built for it first. Let’s see Reason and Record for the iPad. And let’s see how the iPad can be the next super DAW controller and music-making machine. Then, and only then can we assess whether or not this product really is “Magical” or “Revolutionary.” Right now it’s a lot of hype.
There used to be an expression when I was a debt collector talking to deadbeats and trying to get them to pay their bills. It went something like this: There’s a lot of smoke on the barbecue, but I don’t see any meat. Somehow the imminent Apple iPad release made me think of that expression. We’ll see how much “meat” is actually there in the coming months.
What are your thoughts on the new iPad from Apple?
Here’s an interesting article on the subject of iPads and Tablet PCs, which have been around for at least 6 years now. And I think this author is bang on right! http://www.tomshardware.com/news/tablet-islate-ipad-netbook-notebook,9929.html. Thanks Doinky for the link!