While Apple may focus most of its software efforts on consumer-facing products like iOS and iLife, the company hasn't forgotten about its pro customer base. Apple has just released Logic Pro X, the latest update to its professional-grade digital audio workstation software and the first major update for the software since Logic Pro 9 was released in 2009. One of the more notable new features is something called Logic Remote — it lets iPad owners hook their tablets up to Logic Pro X and use it as an additional (and more tactile) mixing space. You can also use it to perform, with virtual keyboards, drums, and guitars, a feature that sounds directly inspired by GarageBand for the iPad. Given how popular the iPad has become in serious music production, we're not at all surprised to see it integrated into Logic Pro X.
Taking the virtual instrument idea a step farther, Logic Pro X also includes a new feature called Drummer, which should be handy for bedroom musicians who don't have their own drummer on-hand. Apple says the feature matches "professionally produced, realistic drum tracks" to your songs, but it's not just pulling from a library of pre-written loops. Drummer can apparently play "millions" of unique beats that are powered by performances by true session drummers.
New features, new design, new iPad integration
There's also a plug-in that lets you build your own custom drum kit to make sure the sound and beat you get is as unique as possible. It feels like a pumped-up version of GarageBand's smart instruments, and not something that a lot of musicians would want to use on their final projects — but it could make cutting a demo with a realistic-sounding drum track a lot easier, and we imagine creative users should be able to come up with some pretty interesting and unique results.
Other improvements include a redesigned interface that looks like it packs a lot more info and controls into the available space, an expanded library of synthesizers, keyboards, and MIDI plug-ins, and a feature called flex pitch — it sounds like Apple's answer for the ubiquitous auto-tune tool used all over popular music (though Apple is positioning it more for tweaking vocal performances and less for making your voice sound like a robot).
While there's no doubt that Logic Pro X is aimed at professionals, the price cut its predecessor got in 2011 is still in effect here: for $199.99, those who've outgrown GarageBand can get an app that looks like it'll keep music creators busy for a long time. The app's companion software for live performance, MainStage, has also been updated and is priced at $29.99 If you're interested, just make sure you're running the latest version of OS X — Logic Pro X only runs on Mountain Lion.
Update: Apple's Logic Pro X page has gone live, and includes full video demos of new features including Drummer, Arpeggiator (a heavily-customizable synth programmer), and Flex Pitch. You can also see the new interface in all its glory as well as the full list of new features right here.