- Remote Control surface for DAWs and my Yamaha 01V96. Awesome if you are sitting away from your computer as I often am across the room at a vintage synth.
- Built in apps such as synths, like this exciting iMS20, as well as a plethora of drum machines, electribe, Jordan Rudess morphwhiz synth (like a mini Haken Continuum).... the list is endless and some of these synths sound impressive. The nLog synth for example is arguably stronger than the Roland GIAI in tone. And I just downloaded a great, free, Oberhiem emulation that sound magnificent. The list is extensive. And on the iMS20 for example, there are no less than two Kaoss pads - and as you move both the sound is awesome - all the associated knobs on the synth control surface move in sympathy with the KAOSS control. One Kaoss pad controls the notes of a sequence while the other controls tone parameters. Meanwhile you can use other fingers to literally change other synth knob parameters - and even the modular patching - in realtime - it puts modular synthesis into a totally realtime control environment using 10 fingers - including patching! Jaw-dropping and unique to multi-touch screens (in fact it is hugely ahead of other other iPad apps. It's serious and deep.)
- iPad DAWs - there are numerous variants and many of them are very capable. Best of all is the ability to use an iPad step sequencer and use it for sketching, coming up with small sequences and so on.
- New iPad music apps that have no analogue to previous instruments. In other words - true iPad apps that provide new ways of music creation.
- Brilliant DJ music making tools. Though I've never been into DJ'ing, some of the iPad DJ tools are amazing and so cheap so I've bought a few and am learning a whole bunch of stuff about DJ'ing, realtime control and manipulation of sound that I otherwise wouldn't have paid out the hundreds of dollars/euro for.
- Music notation. There are packages for entering music notation. They are fairly basic but are getting better by the month and they can be exported as MIDI or XML files into other DAWs and scoring packages.
- Music utilities. For example - an app called Backline Calc that does all types of conversions - frames rates to beats/bars to time, tempo... and so on and so on... invaluable for film/tv composing. Of course there are a huge number of these - even the free metronomes and tuners are incredible. And then there Audio Kit – an SPL meter, Spectrum analyser, signal generator and oscilloscope (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/audio-kit/id376965050?mt=8)
- Music study. Now here is where the iPad had really makes a massive difference to me. At the moment I'm thick in study of orchestral music and so with classical CDs loaded onto the iPod and dozens of orchestral scores loaded as PFD documents (free from IMSLP copyright free score web site), I can study the score by listening and viewing the score all in one succinct package - it's revolutionary. In fact there is even an app called ‘forscore’ that does the page turning (on selected scores) for you.
- As a store of all pdf documents for all my synths and software documentation. For example, sitting on my iPad is the 6000+ pages of all of Apple's music applications software, all the PDFs for my OASYS and so on.... Overall, I have in excess of 20,000 pages of synthesizer and music software documentation all sitting on my iPad. This alone is worth it – I actually refer to the documents and am learning more and more about my purchased resources.
- Music information such as apps that provide chord progressions and so on...
- Musc theory books as pdfs and ebooks - again an amazing on-hand resource
The list is endless. I was a true sceptic of the iPad. But April 2010 Vodafone gave me a free upgrade to an iPhone 3GS because I literally hadn't upgraded my phone in years. Even after getting it I didn't use it for much, but my 11 and 13 year old nephews soon set me right! The number of iPhone apps is staggering, and of course when I realised the potential and got an iPad, it revolutionised my music life.
I have some concerns -
1. Such an all encompassing device can make for generic 'vanilla' music making; so I hope the iPad does not kill off the concept of physical instruments
2. The cost of iPhone and iPad apps is so low - ridiculously low IMO - that I fear that the traditional great music instrument and software makers will suffer and go out of business. But hopefully they can transition to this clearly totally different business model.
3. Many of the iPhone and iPad apps are too singular – as in they do not adhere to an external standards across the various apps so they cannot interact. But that's only a matter of time hopefully and already many standard MIDI and other connecticity options are arising.
4. Worse of all, most apps to not integrate into a computer / DAW environment. While they sound great on the iPad, there's no way of harnessing them in a broader context. Again, this is slowly improving.
5. May iPad music apps are very much in their infancy and while they look great and often sound great, you end up not using them in serious music projects. I'd happily pay $10 more for a full functionality set that integrates the iPad app with others in a multi app environment anc well connected to a DAW environment. Again, surely all this will come.
But overall, the device has revolutionized my approach to my music world. It provides significant supplementary benefits, new possibilities and so on - it does not replace anything - but it is fantastic. Each to their own, but I'm absolutely overjoyed with the device and there is no going back.