Music Making on the iPad

Prediction: one of the killer apps for the imminent Apple iPad will be a music maker.

  • This app will combine the gesture-based control of the Kaossilator with the simplified sequencing of the Tenori-on or Monome.

  • It will provide interfaces for existing DAWs like Ableton Live and Logic, both onscreen, in the style of TouchOSC, and via the accelerometer, like Pro Synth.

  • Realtime collaboration with other users will be made possible with little configuration, in the style of the Bliptronic 5000 (only without the wires).

  • Instruments and effects will be chained together, or created from scratch, with virtual patch cords, as in Reason, or Max/MSP.

  • The app will emulate traditional instruments, with haptic tactile feedback allowing pianists to find the keys, and guitarists to feel the strings vibrate beneath their fingers.

  • Sample libraries, synth patches, plugins, and instruments will be available through in app purchasing, and for free via the web communities that spring up in the app’s wake (where users will complain vociferously about latency issues and mid-performance crashes). As will remix packs bundled with iTunes LPs, making the app as much a distribution platform as it is a tool.

  • There will be more to the app than music, too–think Echo Nest Remix-style video processing on the fly.

Of course, not all of these features will be available in the app on the first generation iPad–it won’t have enough oomph, or haptic technology–but I’m sure somerhing like it will ship soon after the device is announced.

It could even come as standard, from Apple themselves, in the form of GarageBand for iPad.

The above occurred to me while reading Charles Arthur’s excellent preview of the forthcoming gadget, which, like all the other guesswork I’ve seen, makes no mention of music making on the iPad. Which is strange, considering the huge number of music- and noise-making apps available for the iPhone.