In case you've been living in a hole, Apple announced its newest device, the iPad a couple of days ago. Regardless of the stupid name and its XXL iTouch look, we've still got a few hopes for what it can do in the future.
Sure, as a music listener it'll never be anything more than 21st century boom box, but what about those of us that make music? The iPod Touch and iPhone have had their fair share of music editing and creation tools, but the tiny screen makes it impossible to use live and difficult in your parent's basement. The iPad could solve that if Apple would let go of it's restrictions and allow for truly innovative toolsets.
First and foremost, we're going to assume the next iteration of the iPad will have a standard USB docking system, which could allow for an I/O controller to input sound properly in multiple tracks. This would mean recording live shows and sessions in high quality sound would be a cinch, and it would open the floodgates for easy to mix and master recording.
We'd want recording software too, though, and Apple already makes one, the excellent Logic Pro. When we imagine an interface that allows us to move around tracks, trim clips and play with knobs using our actual fingers instead of a mouse, our hearts get all warm and fuzzy.
We're also interested in live controls. Say, a full-featured sampler? How about a Kaoss Pad stuffed into it while we're at it? How about a drum machine and sequencer? It's not that difficult to imagine really, with a 10-inch screen, the iPad could easily function in ill-lit bars and dance clubs. It could be an excellent resource for a community already committed to Apple.
We're not asking for the moon here; we're asking for tools that give us a reason to buy a new gadget. A laptop is cumbersome live, and unless you have a backlit keyboard it's easy to make mistakes and trigger the wrong sample or beats; the iPad could easily solve that.
Music creation and editing tools are expensive, and musicians are used to that. They have no qualms dropping hundreds on effects pedals and beat machines. What if we could have all that in one device? What if Apple lifted their content-restrictions for companies like Korg and Roland to start utilizing their machines?
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It's not unheard of; after all Korg already makes the excellent Korg DS-10 Synthesizer for the Nintendo handheld. The DS-10 proves these companies are interested in new methods of software delivery, and with a little help from Apple, they might be able to secure the musician population with little effort.
We're not saying anything negative about the iPad publicly until a few years have passed. After all, Apple has already made the world look stupid for mocking the iPod and the iPhone. It's also likely the device will drop in price over coming years making it a more interesting machine.
Either way, we know for a fact we'd have been willing to drop the $500 on day one had Apple not completely forgotten about musicians, who, judging by the amount of MacBooks used by DJs and rock bands alike, is a massive section of the population.