5 Reasons Why iOS Music Production Is The Future
Apple has been steadily iterating on both its software and hardware technology stacks for the iPad ever since that very first release back in 2012.
There's been several important milestones over the years these devices have reached that we think are important steps on its journey to becoming a revolutionary music production device.
Personally we've been making music on the iPhone and iPad since 2013 so we've gotten to see all the changes and evolutions first hand over the years and with this knowledge in tow we'd like to simply and quickly explain the main reasons why we think ios music production is going to be a big part of the future.
To start off with the iPad Pros and especially the iPad Minis are incredibly lightweight and small even when compared to traditionally thin laptops like the Macbook Pro.
The iPad pros top out at about 12.9 inches whereas the smallest Macbook pros come in at around 13 inches. But then you still have to account for a larger surface area for the keyboard and trackpad once you actually open up the laptop for use as opposed to the iPad which still remains just a single surface if you aren't using a portable keyboard with it.
Even the smallest 12 inch Macbook laptops are still 3 or 4 pounds which makes them 3 or 4 times heavier than the largest iPads. This really allows the iPad to take up an extremely minimal amount of space in any backpack or travel bag.
Both the touch screen and app store play a huge role in making the iPhone and iPad more accessible for making music than any other mobile device in history.
Touch screens have actually been available for many years even before the iPad and iPhone but both their operating systems and their apps were extremely simplistic. However with Apple's modern iOS devices the sensitivity is now significantly higher so you don't even need a stylus anymore and this combined with their desktop grade CPUs and GPUs means that app developers no longer needed to compromise on features or graphics.
And with the app store it's now extremely simple to search for and download plugins and even full on DAWs with zero configuration necessary. Take Cubasis for example, you simply download the app, open it up and start adding tracks. Plus since these music production apps were all designed for touch there are magical experiences to be had of fiddling about with knobs and faders on the go that invoke that tactile like experience of actually being in front of the gear. Not to mention these apps are often a fraction of the cost of their desktop counterparts.
Even if you don't want to actually record, mix or master your tracks on the iPad you can still use it as either a touch controller or sound module for your desktop DAW.
3. Processing Power
Apple has been on a steady pace to double the RAM and CPU of their mobile devices nearly every single year since inception and now Apple has signaled to the world that this will continue with their recent inclusion of the M1 chip into the iPad Pro.
Their previous chip the A13X was already out performing most comparable laptops and now with this new unified architecture found in the M-series chips, Apple will no doubt keep their throne for the fastest mobile devices on the planet for the foreseeable future.
This is absolutely fantastic news for mobile music producers since we need all the RAM and CPU power we can get to handle the ever increasing DSP demand from the ever evolving modern plugins and DAWs.
Plus the release of a new and more powerful iPad and iPhone each year means that the older devices keep getting cheaper ever year making them even more accessible in secondary markets to people around the world.
4. iPad OS / iOS 13
iPad OS / iOS 13 was an important milestone because Apple introduced a number of features that benefited music producers with the most important of those being a full on file system in the form of the files app that worked just like the explorer in windows and the finder on mac.
Not only could we now create folders and organize our files but we also got access to our app folders which made things like installing presets and sounds easier than ever before. You could even use the files app to browse external storage and other devices on your wireless network making copying files between desktop and iOS devices quick and simple.
Another important feature was Mouse and Keyboard support. This meant that now you can enjoy a laptop like experience with your iPad utilizing a full physical keyboard for faster data input and a mouse for more precise control over apps on the touch screen.
iPad OS / iOS 13 also supports an AUv3 standard which acts just like the VSTs and Audio Units found on the desktop allowing you to utilize these AUv3 apps from within a mobile DAW like Cubasis.
Starting back in 2018 Apple began featuring USB-C instead of a lightning connection in their iPad pros. This meant that you no longer needed to always buy Apple's expensive adapters and instead could rely on much cheaper 3rd party alternatives.
There were 3rd party Lightning adapters but they never worked well due to Apple not revealing the exact specifications and information necessary to create reliable alternatives. However because USB-C is an open standard unlike Lightning was, we no longer need to worry about this issue.
Another benefit of Apple switching to USB-C was the ability to directly plug in any class compliant USB-C storage device. Prior to this support there were only certain storage devices that worked and you often had to use a proprietary app to access your files. Now all you needed was the files app.
Plus USB-C is up to 50x faster than lightning making the transfer of large projects and files a breeze.
Recently there has been an objectively increasing demand from both musicians and producers to have their setups be more and more portable.
Now we're not saying that iOS is more technically advanced or capable than the desktop right now but it will be very, very close by the end of this decade and that is extremely exciting. Even if you don't use the iPad or iPhone for final production it will likely still play a role in your overall setup somehow be that mobile or stationary.
When you look at each one of these reasons individually the case might not be all that compelling but when you add them all up together that's when you can see that there really is a bright future here for the global mobile music production community.