Apple iPad: The World Changed for Artists Yesterday
...but it was close, if you are a musician, an artist, or a writer.
That's right, the legendary Steve Jobs descended from the One Infinite Loop mountain and introduced the long-awaited, much-anticipated, endlessly-speculated-about, Apple tablet form-factor device yesterday... the iPad.
Now, I won't deny that I'm a long-time Apple loyalist. You could even call me a, "fanboi." I have three Mac G4 Cubes (One is my mom's computer), a late '05 G5, an original titanium G4 PowerBook, and the last model of the 17" aluminum G4 PowerBook... and the original 5GB iPod, the original 8GB iPhone, a 5th generation 30GB Video iPod, and a new 32GB iPhone 3GS... OK, and a Newton 120, which is responsible for my switch from PC's to Macs back in the mid '90's. You get the idea.
Dismiss what I'm about to say at your peril, however: Musicians, artists and writers will never, ever approach their quests the same anymore forever. Just what I can see for myself: I will have a composition sketchpad with me wherever I go, which will actually be a partial circular evolution for me, as I return to the intuitive nature of composition I used to use with pencil and paper. Only now, the pencil will be replaced with touch, and the sketches will be exported as MIDI files (Or, one of several other formats), and I'll be able to audition the audio as I work. Just as soon as somebody writes the app, of course, but it'll happen (I'd be happy to consult on such a project, BTW, hint, hint). This will be a step up from the keyboard-and-trackball method I currently use with my desktops, and the keyboard and touchpad approach I use with my notebooks. Plus, there are lots of times when I don't want to lug around either my 17" machine, or its 15" older sibling. The 1024x768 screen on the iPad is only 9.7" and weighs a mere pound and a half. I'll carry that around almost as much as my iPhone!
Another thing: I'll always have a digital recording studio with me now, and I'll be able to record all of my live performances, and select the best tracks for demos and CD's. With my MESA/Boogie 20/20 rig, I'll have the slave outs to go direct into the iPad, and I'm sure an iOS version of Garage Band is on the way (Along with the other iLife apps). So, there won't be any audience noise, there won't be any ambient noise, it will be exactly like being in a professional recording studio... live. Every time I perform. For a guy who started out on TASCAM four-track tape machines back in the 70's, that's incredible. With the amount of memory getting up to 64GB in the iPad, this will not only be possible, it'll be easy. 64GB is more storage than any of my Mac HD's give me, with the exception of my G5's 150GB model.
I have to chuckle at some of the pundits who seem, "underwhelmed" by the iPad, because I bought the original 8GB iPhone back in '07 the morning it became available to order. It cost me $499 - the same as the entry-level 16GB WiFi-only iPad - and there was no app store, there were no productivity suites, there were no eReader books for it; it was nothing but a phone with Mac Mail, Safari, and an iPod. It was also on the slow EDGE network: 3G wasn't even an option. Dude, that's less than three years ago. Imagine what kind of apps will appear for the iPad within the next three years! Seriously, nobody has any idea what the iPad will become, I just know that it's going to be insanely cool.
So, I followed all of the live blogging yesterday - most of the sites crashed from all the traffic - and I watched the video as soon as Apple put it up. Yeah, it was touted as a consumer media device, but it was also obviously announced ASAP because the lid was coming off of the thing: It was probably only about 85-90% of what Jobs wanted it to be in yesterday's demo.
The iPad is going to get music and art apps that will blow us all away, so I'm ordering a 64GB WiFi-only model the morning they become available (I have an iPhone 3GS, so I don't need another 3G device). I put myself on the email alert list as soon as Apple had the link up.
The only thing cooler than an iPad is a beautiful redhead... but you knew I was going to say that.