A lot of people must have just read my headline last week about iOS music production, and missed the larger point I was making. I didn’t say there’s no potential, or that iPads will never be useful. I pointed out flaws with iOS, the operating system. The persistent sandboxing, and lack of ability to share data or audio files between apps. The problem is not with iPads, touchscreens, or lack of ports or anything silly like that.
The problem is that the inherent design of iOS creates the need for weird workflows. I don’t mean new workflows, I mean *weird* workflows. Here’s an example, taken from Chip Boaz’s well written article defending iPad use:
It’s not impossible though; after spending quite a while using audio copy/paste for musical creation, I’ve developed a very productive iOS workflow.
If I’m not mistaken, this workflow is the exact method I outlined in my video – I guess it depends how you define productive. Did it work? Yes. Was it efficient? No. Did it inhibit creativity? Absolutely. Did it hamper production quality? Most likely. A true professional, obsessed with sound quality and production value – might want to use an iPad for production but simply cannot yet do this.
It’s particularly telling that the example video Synthtopia posts in defense of iOS music production is performance driven. Is iOS as a performance system revolutionary? Absolutely! Here’s a short list of gear the iPad basically renders obsolete:
- MPC samplers
- Jazzmutant Lemur
- Video samplers
- Analog non-MIDI synths
- Korg Kaosscilator
- Simple DJ setups (kind of – if you’re ok with mono output)
- Handheld recorders
- Drum machines
- Loop pedals
- Simple direct-to-CD recorders
My guitar only has five strings ’cause the top one broke and I decided not to put it back on: when I play chords I only play bar chords, and the top one always used to cut me there. — Brian Eno
Beyond a mountain of well-reasoned, passionate arguments – using what “works for you” will always work best.