When I first started thinking about creating the Music App Blog, I was already a confirmed Apple addict. And like lots of Apple fans, I’m geeky enough (and honest enough to admit) that I like to watch the product launch events and keep up with the latest news about products or developments with existing ones.
All of which explains why, earlier today, while catching up on some other work at my computer, I had the video replay of the keynote presentation from yesterday’s – September 10th – iPhone 5S launch playing back in a small window so I could catch up on all the highlights of the announcement. And whatever your take on Apple as a company, they do do these product launch events is a very slick and polished fashion….
There were all sorts of things announced in the presentation that caught my eye. From a non-musical perspective, I like the look of the iOS7 redesign and some of the new features it offers. Apple’s move to make the iOS versions of Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie and iPhoto available for free to new iDevice owners strikes me as both great for users but also a smart business move (get ’em hooked and wanting to move to a Mac) – although it’s a shame Garageband wasn’t also included in the list :-) Being a bit of a photography nut, I was also impressed by some of the new features offered by the iPhone 5S camera and the Camera app – very cool.
Of course, what I was really wanting to hear about were things that might matter to me as an iOS musician. Tim Cook was keen to emphasise Apple’s musical heritage and pointed to the brilliant line-up of free gigs going on as part of the 30-day iTunes Festival (I’m watching Jimmy Eat World live via iTunes as I type with the Kings Of Leon up a little later). For the music consumer in me, the Festival contains some wonderful entertainment. I was also interested in the charts presented about the processing power of the iPhone. The rapid increases – and what seems like a significant step up with the 5S – bodes well for what the 5th generation iPad will have to offer when it is launched.
But, for all the wizz-bang of Apple’s presentation, the highlight for me (with my Music App Blog website hat on) was at the end of the event and didn’t come from Apple at all; it came from Elvis Costello. As seems to be the norm now, Apple closed the event with a short performance by a high-profile musician and, yesterday, up stepped Elvis Costello, with his battered old Fender, and strummed his way through a couple of tracks from his back catalogue.
While Apple do, I’m sure, pick artists for these events that are, themselves, fans of the Apple brand, before he played his last song – a number from his new album that is released next week (and he joked that ‘Apple were not the only ones with a product announcement going on’) – in introducing the song, Elvis made a throw-away remark that just bought a great big smile to my face…. ‘a lot of the vocals were recorded in my kitchen using an iPad’…..
…. I’ve always been a fan of Elvis Costello and his music but this sealed the deal for me. I’ve pre-ordered the album and I’m going to give it a critical listen to see if I can spot which vocals were recorded to an iPad and which were recorded in a more conventional studio environment. I suspect I won’t be able to tell. And, for all the doubters out there who perhaps think music production under iOS is not for serious musicians, I’d just like to say that if iOS is good enough for Elvis, then it’s certainly good enough for me….
Enjoy your iPad/iPhone recording studios; you are in good company :-)
Elvis Costello's new album 'Wise Up Ghost' - recorded with The Roots and, in part at least, on an iPad in his kitchen - is released next week and is available via iTunes. for readers in North America for readers in Europe