As I await further comment from Apple, here's what I'm able to tell about GarageBand 2:

  • Multitrack: If you have a multichannel audio interface, you can now record eight tracks at once, plus one virtual instrument track.
  • Notation view: Display and edit your music as real-time
    notation; essentially a score view you can have on the screen at the
    same time as the traditional track view. This apparently does not
    print. (I'm getting more details on that.)
  • Timing and pitch correction: Displayed as a simple fader
    for each, plus a 'constrain to key' for more sophisticated pitch
    correction, a la Apple Logic Pro's Vocal Enhancer (or the Pro Tools
    AutoTune plugin that generates the infamous 'Cher' effect if turned up
    too high)
  • Built-in guitar tuner
  • MIDI Import, Save to Loop Library: Finally here: you can
    import MIDI files, and you can save audio directly to loops.
    Unfortunately, still no MIDI export, which means you can't write a song
    in GarageBand and export to a notation program for printing; you have
    to upgrade to Logic Express. (Ugh!)
  • Orchestral Jam Pack 4: As predicted by rumor sites, Apple
    has launched a new orchestral jam pack with 2,000 loops and 30 "of the
    most important" orchestral instruments. (Hey, keep your viola jokes to

Cost: US$79 for iLife 05 (no separate GarageBand upgrade)
Availability: January 22 in the US, January 29 worldwide.

Burning question: Where's the rumored Asteroid audio interface? Apple
of course never comments on rumors, but a new version could mean new
hardware support — and the huge NAMM music tech show is next week in
Anaheim. Stay tuned.