The Logic Pros: TE’s new pocket-sized synths & how to sync them up with your Mac

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The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

Teenage Engineering, best known for its flagship synthesizer/sequencer the OP-1, recently unleashed a new line of tiny music makers on the world known as the Pocket Operators. The PO-12 Rhythm is a drum machine, the PO-14 Sub is a bass module and the PO-16 Factory is dedicated to melodies and lead lines. The appearance of the units may have some writing them off as toys, and considering they were partially inspired by pocket calculators and the Nintendo Game & Watch products, that may not be totally off base. But creativity and musical inspiration come from unexpected places sometimes.

Having gone hands on with the PO-16 model for over a week now, I have found it to be quite a playable little instrument, with its own interesting quirks, creative limitations, and boutique sound. Most examples of the little device in action appear to be freestyle techno jams, song re-creations or somewhat avant guard pieces that don’t seem to offer much in the way of real-life production applications. So I decided to run the new Factory model through its paces, putting it alongside some bigger name virtual/hardware instruments in the space to see how it would hold-up in a more typical Logic or GarageBand production.

Read on for more details on the PO-16, how to sync this bad boy up with your other hardware and to hear how it sits inside a mix with some big name software/hardware… Read more

Apple reportedly acquired audio software developer Camel Audio in January

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Audio software developer Camel Audio announced in January that it would be shutting down for good and removing its software from sale, but no one knew quite why. However, it now appears that the company has been acquired by Apple.

Today Camel Audio updated some of its corporate information, including its address and directors, as listed on the UK government’s Companies House website. The new address is 100 New Bridge Street in London, which also happens to be the address of Apple’s UK offices.

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GarageBand, Star Walk, Threes and more apps go (RED) until December 7th, all proceeds going to charity

A range of apps have been updated today with limited-time promotions, in aid of the (RED) charity. Apple has participated in the event with an update to GarageBand, offering a limited-edition In-App Purchase that makes over 300 new drum, guitar, synth and bass loops available as an In-App Purchase. All proceeds from the sale of this expansion pack go directly to the (RED) charity, which sends the money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The In-App Purchase, which is priced at $0.99, will be available until December 7th.

Other notable developers are also participating, many of which including exclusive additional content. For example, Threes has been updated, with a fresh red theme and updated icon. Monument Valley has added one special (RED) level, Star Walk has added exploration of Mars, The Red Planet. The popular drawing app, Paper, has also participated with a red application theme and icon. The ‘Over’ app has made special edition font and artwork packs available for purchase. djay and Heads Up! are also taking part in the event. Like GarageBand, 100% of proceeds of app and IAP sales go to the (RED) fund.

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Apple updates iMovie and GarageBand for OS X Yosemite with new features and design

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Apple has pushed out updates for iMovie and GarageBand to add compatibility with OS X Yosemite and add new features for both apps. GarageBand 10.0.3 introduces a new Bass Amp Designer, tweaks to the zoom function, a new template for recording vocals, and other changes.

iMovie has also been updated with a new interface that fits with the new design in Yosemite, as well as to add support for new features like the ability to create iPhone app previews for the App Store and tweaks to the adjustments bar and other changes. There are also new options for exporting videos as custom H.264, ProRes, or just audio tracks.

The full logs for both apps are below:

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Apple prominently advertising Beats Music to new iOS device users

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Apple has prominently featured its own suite of free apps when iOS users first open the App Store, such as its iLife and iWork apps, for a while. Now that Beats Music and Beats Electronics are officially part of the family, the Beats Music app is now appearing on this ‘Apple Apps’ list as well. Beats Music is currently the last entry in the list, described as a way to ‘listen to music that’s always right for you’.

Tapping ‘Download All’ will install Beats Music alongside Apple’s other apps. Naturally, one way for Apple to significantly increase adoption of the service is to advertise it to every new iOS user.

The view will show up for new iOS devices or by performing a clean restore to a version of iOS 7, on both iPhone and iPad.

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New iOS iWork & iLife icons/features appear on Apple’s website, GarageBand going free with in-app-purchases

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On the ‘Built-in Apps’ page in the iPhone 5s and 5c section of Apple’s website, although the actual app screenshots look the same, Apple is using new (flatter) iOS icons for the iLife and iWork suites designed to match the style of iOS 7. The iPhoto and GarageBand icons are identical to the ones that were leaked last week in the iCloud Storage preferences.

However, this is the first time the new iOS 7 style iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote icons have been seen. Although iMovie looks relatively similar to its skeuomorphic counterpart, the other icons look drastically different featuring bright gradients and white icon glyphs.

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LA Unified School District will give each of its 640,000 students iPads by the end of next year

Previously, we covered Apple’s announcement that it had won a large contract to supply iPads to LA Unified School District. The program will equip students across the nation’s second biggest school district with iPads that include the Pearson Common Core System of Courses delivered via a new app as part of the integrated solution. Additionally, each iPad will come preloaded with Apple’s iWork (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) and iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand) suites in addition to a range of educational third-party apps. Apple noted that the $30 million commitment is only the first phase of a larger roll out for Los Angeles schools.

In a new report today, we see how big that buy really is.

The first 31,000 iPads are only the initial phase of the program, which plans to buy and distribute iPads to all 640,000 students in the nation’s second-largest school district by late 2014, Mark Hovatter, the chief facilities executive for the LAUSD, told CITEworld.

“The most important thing is to try to prepare the kids for the technology they are going to face when they are going to graduate,” said Hovatter. “This is phase one, a mix of high school, middle school, and elementary students. We’re targeting kids who most likely don’t have their own computers or laptops or iPads. Their only exposure to computers now is going to be in their schools.”

That’s a huge number to add to Apple’s iPad numbers over the next year. As it stands, if Apple reaped $400 of revenue from each iPad, it would receive $256M for the deal. More importantly, it lays the groundwork for other school districts that may want to emulate this adoption.

Best of all, it exposes a massive amount of children to Apple’s technology that might not already have access to it.

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iOS 7’s new Inter-App Audio introduces universal audio routing between apps

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Following WWDC this week Apple’s redesign of iOS 7 and Mavericks have been getting the majority of attention, and rightfully so, but there are a few new big features coming in iOS 7 that haven’t been discussed. This morning we told you about the new MFi Game Controller framework that will make using hardware game controllers a lot smoother in iOS 7, but another important new feature in the update is inter-app audio.

The basic idea is simple: Inter-app audio will allow developers to make their app act as an output and or input for sending and receiving audio to and from other apps. In fact, we already somewhat have that functionality through third-party iOS app Audiobus. However, with Apple’s new inter-app audio feature available to devs, apps will no longer have to use a third-party app like Audiobus to send audio to one another. At first glance it seems to make Audiobus obsolete, an interesting move after Apple just recently implemented support for the third-party service in its own GarageBand app. Either way, it means a ton of new possibilities for creating music and sharing audio on your iPhone and iPad are on the way with the update to iOS 7 this fall.

We dug into Apple’s documentation on Inter-App Audio to find out how it works and also spoke with Audiobus about what this means for them:

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Apple updates GarageBand for iOS with support for Audiobus, better control over region and note editing & more

GarageBand-AudiobusApple today updated its GarageBand for iOS, bringing the app up to version 1.4 and providing support for Audiobus. Originally launched in December 2012, Audiobus is an iOS app available from developer A Tasty Pixel and described as an “inter-app audio routing system.” The app allows users to route audio from a growing list of third-party and Audiobus-compatible synths, drum machines, effects, and audio-editing apps and record them simultaneously in other supported multi-track editing apps. That means GarageBand users will now be able to use Audiobus to route audio instruments and effects from other Audiobus-compatible iOS apps into a GarageBand session.

Audiobus provides an SDK to developers that want to integrate the ability to support the Audiobus app and a long list of popular music creation apps have already taken part, including: Cubasis, Animoog, many of Korg’s apps, JamUp, Loopy, and now GarageBand. You can see a full list of apps that support Audiobus here. The Audiobus app will cost you an extra $9.99 on top of the cost of GarageBand ($4.99).

Other improvements in today’s update include the ability to turn off grid snapping to easier control the placement of regions when editing and a fix for issues with third-party audio accessories: Read more

Fender launches new $199 Squier USB Stratocaster for iOS devices exclusively at the Apple Store

While there are a quite a few USB guitar solutions on the market already, Fender is bringing a USB version of its popular Squire Stratocaster series exclusively to the Apple Store. Priced at $199.95 on Apple’s online store, the guitar features a traditional 1/4-inch output, Type Mini-B USB connector, and two included cables for connecting via USB or directly to iOS devices. Unfortunately, Fender is including a 30-pin cable for iOS devices, so users of newer iOS devices will have to grab a Lightning to 30-pin adapter.

The NEW Squier Strat Guitar with USB & iOS Connectivity gives you a huge range of tones and all the features you expect from Fender—plus the convenience of direct connection to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.

Also included is a 3.5mm headphone jack and “a high-quality headphone amp so that you can monitor the processed guitar signal right from the guitar itself.” It’s clear Fender is aiming this product directly at the GarageBand iOS users, but you’ll have no problem hooking up to your Mac or PC with an included USB cable or using it as a traditional guitar with the 1/4-inch output.

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