Apple follows up its successful iPad version of GarageBand with one that works on iPhone, too. But is it as good?
This second incarnation of GarageBand on iOS lets iPhone and iPod Touch users get in on the mobile music action. While undoubtedly better on the iPad's larger screen (the first-gen GarageBand for iPad app had that covered), GarageBand 1.1 now offers a surprisingly usable experience on the smaller screen iDevices, too.
As with Apple's first bash at porting GarageBand to iOS, you can put together up to eight tracks using a variety of in-app instruments from keyboards to drum kits, as well as 'smart instruments' that play chords and use arpeggiators to jazz up your basic composition. You're not limited to just those, however, as you can also import tracks and Apple loops from GarageBand on Mac, as well as record your own samples straight to the app via the iPhone's mic/input.
That's wah we're talkin' 'bout
The guitar amp section (with the help of a suitable input device like the AmpliTube iRig or Line 6 Mobile In) lets you record your own guitar tracks with a real guitar, and add the app's classic amp modelling and stompbox effects.
What's new in the GarageBand 1.1 app?
This new GarageBand app version adds more features for the 'pro' user, like support for 3/4 and 6/8 time signatures, though there are no loops included for these so you'll have to find or make your own. There's also quantization to hand which to even out the rhythm in your beat-making – a kind of audio 'snap-to' function. And velocity sensitivity is now adjustable, making it easier to add subtle nuances to your deftly-tapped drum solos.
GarageBand for iPhone – verdict
It's hard to imagine that it's possible to create music on the confines of a 3.5in touchscreen, but GarageBand's plethora of tools and clever controls make it not just possible but – dare we say it? – easy. Of course truly musical results are still down to putting in a fair bit of practice, but with it always in your pocket you should have plenty of opportunity for that.
As an added bonus, if you've already got GarageBand for iPad your ticket to the iPhone version is a free ride. And if you haven't, it's all new, exciting and begging to be discovered. Just like your hidden musical talent. Possibly.