Apple has updated GarageBand on iOS with support for Audiobus, a third-party interface that lets you use multiple music creation apps at the same time. Since Audiobus launched late last year, the developers behind several music apps have adopted it as a de facto communication standard for iOS, and it's easy to see why. The simple interface exponentially increases the iPad's value as a music creation tool by letting you do all the recording and sequencing on a single device without complex file imports, as well as enabling apps to talk to each other. For example, you could now record a synth track in Korg's iMS-20, filter it through the Amplitude amp modeler, and record the results as a track in GarageBand.
Record sounds from Korg, Animoog, Figure, and more
Apps can support Audiobus in up to three ways: as input, effect, or output. GarageBand only works as an output, meaning that you can't feed its own instruments into other apps; instead, the Audiobus support means you can use GarageBand to record and sequence sounds from Animoog, Figure, and a whole host of other apps that work as an input. When you launch one of those apps through Audiobus and select GarageBand as your output, you'll see a tab on the side of the screen that you can use to record your performance without actually switching apps. Once you're done recording you can use the tab to switch back to GarageBand, where your performance will appear just as if you'd played it within the app itself.
While GarageBand is just one of many apps that can be used in this way — Cubasis, Beatmaker 2, and Auria are popular choices — at $4.99 it's definitely one of the cheaper options for multitrack recording. It's also intriguing that Apple has seen fit to adopt a third-party API for one of its own iOS apps. This could signal a desire from the company to come up with a more robust way to share data between apps on iOS, or it might just show that Apple is content to let developers find their own solutions. Either way, Audiobus is likely to gain a lot more traction now that it has Cupertino's official blessing, and its creators have chopped its regular $9.99 price in half to celebrate.