With the new touch response software will Microsoft/Google finally make a GarageBand Competitor
I bought an iPad a little over a year ago. When i bought it I was excited, because I've always dreamed of having a big iPod touch. Keep in mind i have never own an iPod, nor an iPhone, but the MM players that were out before the ipad were horrible to say the least. So it being apple I waited until at least the 2nd generation and I pick one up. After downloading a whole heap of apps I found to my surprise I was using one app way more than I thought I would, GarageBand.
I been in and around music since I was a small child, and I'll never forget the summer when I first started creating my own music. It was the summer of 97 I had just put together my first PC, and my brother had found a bunch of freeware(remember those) music programs. I started out with the German beat making software, where I got to know the grid format nuances like how to make a 16 measure beat instead 8 and such. Then I ported that into Acid(way before they were bought by apple), and added a few sample from the video game .wav files I had on my computer and made songs. It was awesome I was making techno tracks for hours on end, close to 12 to 15 hours a day. I made soundtracks and all kinds of long orchestral techno pieces. It was beautiful and wonderful, then I added a sound card to my PC and my PC died. I guess the weird thing is I didn't even think about making music after that happened, that PC dying took a lot out me. Some 14 years later(damn I'm old) I start fooling with garageband, and I'm that 17 year old kid again.
As I started laying tracks, and adding my voice I really had the feeling the Steve Jobs was talking about magical. Then I download Animoog app, Akai's app and a bunch of other music related apps and it was also beautiful. This got me thinking why is Apple the only one doing this, has Steve Ballmer, or Matias every played in GarageBand and not known that it was good.
So I started doing some research to see exactly where this disconnect lies and it turned out to be the touch screen. An article on synthtopia explained the differnce quite clearly. Either the touchscreen software or the touchscreen hardware, is way off once you leave the iOS realm. I've heard Josh complain about this before in his old andriod reviews, back when the palm pre still had some hope, but I thought they had fixed that problem by now. It turns out they didn't, and you can see after reading the article the way this impacts music creation is drastic. Enough so I could agree with the author and say there is no way GarageBand or any non-grid based app will ever work on another ecosystem.
After much dismay, I started to see some hope of competition. First I came across this article at Techspot. They were showing off this new touchscreen response system Microsoft was building in their dreams lab, aka the Microsoft research center(which btw is like the new bell labs imo). At time I came across this article though the surface was out, and there was no hope of it being a consumer device(we know that changed). Then I'm watching the live feed Google I/O, and I see it again, project butter. Which made me really excited (if I was wearing a beanie the rotors would be spinning).
Now the only question is does Microsoft and/or Google see a need to create their own first part music apps.
In the case of Microsoft it's strange to me that so many designers can use a PC to create works, and Microsoft never really embraced it and tired to write programs that accommodated it. The best that I can see is MS paint, which is alright I suppose, but finger painting can only go so far. Also you let go of the designers who could have made it fun(hello paper app I do luv you). My only hope is Microsoft will work in conjunction with some the establish community like Akai, Pro tools, or Mashcine, and push making the surface R/T into a music creation tool.
For Google I'm not sure how it could grow. The nexus q has me puzzled with how ideas brim to the top of the company. Also i'm not sure how well butter is being embraced by the music creation community, but I suppose project butter would make it easier. (I wish my job sent me to that conference, not sure how they would explain it but I would have gotten some great intel). The thing is Google seems to concentrate on music delivery. And I don't know of any music creation tools in the chromebooks, or things of that ilk, other than the Moog Easter egg which was kinda cool. Google doesn't have the advantage of having a relationship with the music creation product managers like Apple, and Microsoft have so it could never materialize.
I guess my only hope is Microsoft and Google see music creation as an important part of their tablets future. As an iPad owner, if you took my music programs off of the iPad, and made them only available on the Google nexus 7, I would buy a nexus 7. Same goes for the surface R/T. I want to point out that I not mentioning surface R/T pro because from what I've seen, you should be able to do it from the gate, just in classic mode only. Outside of that i just hope they add more competition in this arena. As a music lover and a technology geek I can see that software is how a large majority of people are making music for the first time. If that is the case we need to make it available to the most people at the lowest of entry prices.