By Brychan Humphries
As they so often do when it comes to things like this, Apple surprised us with a double whammy today in the form of a pretty hefty GarageBand update for iOS as well as something we don't see too often: a completely new iOS app. Let's talk about the update to iOS's GarageBand first. When you first launch the app, not much seems to have changed, but venture further and you'll see just how much has been updated. As well as featuring over 1000 new sounds and loops, which would constitute a majorly awesome update by itself, Apple have created a new grid centric design to make implementing these loops and sounds a whole lot easier (and, may I add, fun!). The new update allows for easy addition of loops in real time, which is fun just to play around with, let alone make music with. Apple have integrated the same design style that was present since iOS 7 into many new, powerful features that take your music making experience and ability to the next level. It is now possible to add new instruments in real time while the song is playing, and the app looks great doing so. The iPad Pro's size is finally being utilised by GarageBand, as is the 3D Touch functionality of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The overall feel to this update is that it is so much more professional than the previous version of GarageBand, bringing Apple one big step closer to their goal of bringing industry standard music editing and creation to mobile devices.
Now, what we've all been waiting for: Music Memos. Apple's brand new music recording application was released along side their GarageBand update and it is epic. We don't see Apple bringing out new apps very often as they prefer to perfect their existing ones for years at a time; when they do release something new, it blows us away. Let's get right to it. Music Memos is supposed to serve as a simple yet complex recording application that Apple say is to help you capture an idea whenever one may hit you. Music Memos has the basic function of the Voice Memos app but, as the name suggests, it has many features aimed at musicians. When you launch the app, you're met with a minimalistic, classically Apple-esque interface with a record button in the middle of the screen. There are icons at the top of the main screen to access your "ideas" (basically your memos library) and to invoke the instrument tuner, a feature many people will be glad to see on an Apple application.
While Music Memos does a terrific job figuring out what chords you were playing and splitting everything into measures, you can change any information it takes from the recording if necessary. You also have the ability to add notes to your idea to provide a deeper level of memo taking. As this application is meant to be a step up from the simple Voice Memos and a mere companion to the vastly superior GarageBand, Music Memos only provides basic functionality when it comes to editing music. You can edit the information such as chords, key, measures etc. and you can take notes. But you are unable to dub in more recording, nor are you able to layer tracks. That level of customisation is meant for the much more capable GarageBand, which is meant to be the next step after taking a Music Memo. Some things to note are that Music Memos, as far as we know, has only been released in the US App Store. The app has not yet appeared in the UK App Store, we are unsure about other locations. To change your App Store, simply go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > press on your Apple ID > press View Apple ID > press Change Location. Or you could wait until Apple release it for other regions' stores.