While I’m more than happy to recommend recording apps such as Cubasis, Auria or Gadget to more experienced iOS musicians, if you are just taking your first steps with the platform (and particularly if it represents your first serious encounter with recording/music technology in any form), Apple’s GarageBand for iOS is actually pretty hard to beat.
Even if you just use it as an audio sketchpad, it would be worth the price of entry. If you are using a 4th generation iPad or earlier, Garageband now offers recording on up to 16 tracks (the previous 8 track limit was quite a constraint). The app’s current UK£3.99 price is an absolute steal and their is a free IAP that adds a bunch of excellent virtual instruments.
Garageband for iOS allows up to 32 tracks on 64-bit iDevices and the app also includes support for inter app audio. It perhaps lacks a fully-featured mixing environment so there are more sophisticated recording apps out there (as mentioned above) but none that are as easy to get started with. This is the app that really demonstrated the potential of iOS for musicians. It can be labeled as a ‘toy’ (because it is so easy to use) but it is also a serious tool (because you can do some very serious work with it); it’s a brilliant illustration of what iOS music is all about.
Yesterday saw the first update to the app in a few months. There were some bugs that have been squashed apparently but the headline new feature is the ability to share your music directly from garageBand to Apple Music Connect (providing you have a suitable articst Apple Music Connect account of course).
Apple Music Connect is one of the key new features that is going to feature within the iOS9 release in a few months time… but it is also being made available in iOS8.4… and as that rolled out the doors yesterday (and some of you will have already – like me – updated to the new version), you can make a start exploring the service. Will it catch on? Who knows, but it will be interesting to see how widely the indie music making community adopts it….
Anyway, it is good to see GarageBand for iOS get an update and, if you also use garageBand under OSX, then that has been updated also… although that update includes some new creative features also. As a ‘my first recording app’ candidate, GarageBand for iOS is a very good bet…. if you are newbie iOS musician looking for a place to start, you could do a lot worse…. download, spend some time with it and then, if you do outgrow it, take the very useful experience on with you to a more fully featured iOS recording environment…