5 Tidbits of Good News from WWDC for Musicians and Visualists

Apple’s WWDC keynote this year is an mix of mostly consumer-focused, end-user features and the occasional nerdier developer-centric discussion, plus a healthy heaping of hyperbolae. (The App Store, compared to the invention of the telescope and the discovery of electricity – did I hear that right?) But, if you’re paying close attention, there are some tidbits of good news for people using Apple’s platforms for creative work – or making the tools those people use. Before we talk about Apple Music, let’s look at the OS news. 1. Metal in OS X will open up new visual possibilities. Metal is …


The Single USB-C Connector is Coming – But It’s Not Bad News

For years, the steady disappearance of ports from our computers has been unquestionably a bad thing for musicians. Things we used have been disappearing: Audio input jacks. Dedicated FireWire connections. Extra USB ports. And I’m not just talking Apple, here, either – slimmer and lighter PCs have often dumped connectors you needed, leaving us with a tangled mess of adapters and incompatibilities. Get a bunch of laptop owners together, and you’re lucky to connect anything without a Santa Claus-style bag of spaghetti. So, music and audio users can be forgiven to being resistant to change, because some of those changes …


Apple Watch Already Has a DJ App and a Guitar Tuner and Amp Controller

You’ll recall I predicated music app developers would try to do something with Apple Watch. (That was a relatively easy prediction, like suggesting that warmer months with longer periods of sunlight would follow the colder, snowier bits occurring in winter.) Well, the Apple Watch isn’t even out yet, and we’re already seeing a couple of apps – one for guitarists with a particular Bluetooth amp/speaker, and one for DJs. Since we first looked at Apple Watch, it’s become clear that the device isn’t in fact an iPhone on your wrist. Apple has chosen lightweight interactions – stuff to glance at …

This has never ever happened before with Apple. Well, except all those times it happened before. Photo (CC-BY) Marcin Wichary.

Why MacBook Pro Users Need Not Worry About the New MacBook

If you’re a music maker, a DJ, or anyone working with creative audio and video, you care about connectivity so you can do your job – rightfully so. So, if that has you freaked out by the strange “all-new MacBook,” let me the first person to tell you: relax. You don’t want it, but you don’t have to lose sleep over it. It seems Apple yesterday introduced a new product tier. Apple has done that before, creating different categories for their computers to serve different markets. (It’s what has turned them into a hugely profitable company.) You may still prefer …


The Clue to Apple’s MacBook Revisions is the Word “Pro”

Yes, Apple is today talking about wristwatches. But judging by those glowing logos I see absolutely everywhere all the time, it’s probably MacBooks that matter to you music creating folk. Apple today has three items of computer news: 1. They’re introducing a new, 12″ display model called the “all-new MacBook” (note that exact wording). 2. They’re updating the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display. 3. They’re updating the MacBook Air. (There are no changes to the 15″ model, but these revisions have historically been staggered.) With Apple, nomenclature is everything. It’s been a while since Apple called anything “MacBook” without …


Camel Audio Almost Certainly Acquired by Apple

When audio software maker Camel Audio announced they were ceasing operations and making their product line unavailable, we considered two possibilities: either they had simply closed shop, or they were bought. Well, they were bought. That is, we can’t confirm the plug-in vendor has been purchased by Apple. Here, let’s line up two scenarios again. Either: 1. Camel Audio spontaneously moved their UK business registration to Apple’s London address and named Apple lawyer Heather Joy Morrison as their sole Director. (Upside: awesome prank. Downside: um, maybe you get thrown in the Tower of London, or whatever England does these days.) …


Apple’s MainStage Auto Sampler Turns Your Hardware into Software

Hidden in last month’s update to Logic and MainStage is a feature a lot of sampler lovers have been missing. You need the latest MainStage to access it, but it allows you to easily create sampled software versions of external instruments. Italian developer Redmatica had a host of technologies for transforming hardware instruments into software samples, all built around Apple’s EXS24 sampler. Anyone who’s ever built samples of hardware knows the process can be fairly time-consuming: you trigger notes one at a time, record audio from them, and map that audio to the keyboard. Redmatica’s tools made all of that …


What’s New in Logic Pro X 10.1: Editing Power, Electronic Drums [In Detail]

With version number 10.1, the Logic Pro release out right now sounds like a “yawn, move along” bump. But there’s actually a big story here. Half that story is about making electronic beats. The other half, and maybe the more important half, is about editing. But let me explain. Even with a steady stream of updates, I’m not convinced Logic Pro X has entirely shaken concerns from some hard-core producers about serious editing – whether they’re being fair or not. Something about all the cute graphics and loop browsing and GarageBand and iPad and iPhone seems to make them, well, …


For Apple, Music Making is For Everybody: New Holiday Ad

We face a challenge in the music technology community. Underlined by a century in which music creation was seen by some as the privilege of a few, in the studio world, and mass music was about records and radio, people might claim music making is niche. It’s seen by those onlookers as the domain of specialists, techies – a weird overlap of superstars and nerds. But some of us believe that musical expression as as essential as singing, and the tools matter just as much. You don’t see much music technology in Apple’s latest ad. I think it might be …

Loop points, at last. Side-by-side editing on iPad, too. Photos courtesy NI.

iMaschine on iOS Gets Smarter; How Apps Can Help You Make More Music

They may not be as powerful as their desktop counterparts. But by going with you, mobile apps can help you find inspiration and creativity in moments that would otherwise be lost. And mobile drum machine app iMaschine adds two subtle features that mean a lot more possibility – or at least takes a step in the right direction. iMaschine 1.2, released at the end of last week, adds integration for both Audiobus and Apple’s own Inter App Audio (the latter less-widely implemented, but used in popular apps like GarageBand). The upshot: you can now combine Native Instruments’ mobile drum machine …