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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Review: Griffin StudioConnect audio/midi interface & dock for iPad

We first told you about Griffin’s StudioConnect audio interface when it unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. There are more than a few products on the market that make it easy to hook up your guitar, mic, or MIDI controller to the iPad for use with the many iOS apps that include built-in DAWs with CoreMIDI support (such as Apple’s own GarageBand). While it might not be the prettiest iPad dock we have seen, there are a few reasons why it beats the competition.

With StudioConnect, in terms of inputs and outputs, what you get is pretty basic: standard 5-pin MIDI in and out, one 1/4-inch mono input, and left and right RCA output. The large knob out front controls the 3.5mm headphone jack below it, while a separate volume wheel on the side is for your main output. It is more than enough to plug in supported mics, a guitar, or a MIDI controller, but it is clear that Griffin did not build the StudioConnect with professionals in mind. Most pros will not do anything too heavy-duty inside of an iOS app at this point. The inputs above will likely be sufficient for most musicians using the iPad as a mobile or writing setup.

While it does not offer some of the standard inputs and outputs that pros are familiar with, Griffin used its experience making iOS accessories to nail the design where the competition gets it wrong….

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iPhoto for iPhone and iPad available now for $4.99, iMovie & GarageBand updates live

Apple demoed quite an impressive iPhoto app today during the new iPad unveiling, and the app is now officially live on the App Store for $4.99 [iTunes]. In case you did not know, the app is a universal download for both iPhone and iPad. You can grab iPhoto for iOS now (iTunes link). Apple also boasted updated versions of iMovie and GarageBand today that you can already get on the App Store here and here for $4.99 each (free update for current owners). The updated GarageBand app features a Note Editor, Smart Strings orchestra feature, and Jam Sessions for realtime playing and recording with up to three other iOS devices.  You can read our full break down of the new iPhoto app here.

In addition Apple updated iBooks Author today to “take advantage of the Retina display on the new iPad” and did the same for the iTunes U app. The updates also include the usual stability and performance improvements.

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Audio at CES 2012: Griffin’s audio interface for iPad, IK Multimedia’s new iRig lineup, ION’s guitar controller, and more

We brought you some of the hottest accessories launched at CES 2012 yesterday, such as the vertical MacBook Air Dock from Henge and a new lineup of cloud products from D-link. That list also included one audio product, Griffin’s Twenty amp enabling Airplay playback on non-powered speakers, but today we bring you the rest of the most intriguing audio accessories and peripherals launched at the show.

Among them: A new audio interface for iPad from Griffin, new iRig accessories from IK Multimedia, and controllers from Line 6 and ION.
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Updated: Apple to make Logic Pro and MainStage download-only, Mac App Store apps

Update: Apple has now released Logic Pro 9 ($199) and MainStage 2 ($29) in the Mac App Store. Weighing in at 413 MB, Logic Pro 9 requires 3.6GB of disk space and still comes with all the built-in plug-ins and sounds. However, for commenters pointing out the many GBs of additional content bundled with the soon to be discontinued $499 Logic Studio, Apple is making 19GB of additional content available via in-app downloads. Otherwise the app, at first glance, appears to be largely unchanged.

To accompany the release the of the new Mac App Store versions, Logic Pro was also updated to version 9.1.6 today. Apple also updated Aperture in the Mac App Store to version 3.2.2., which mainly fixes an issue with “auto-imported Photo Stream images”.

Apple has officially informed retailers they’ll be moving distribution of their Logic Pro and Logic Express digital audio workstations to a download-only, Mac App Store model (via MacRumors):

Apple today issued a notice to resellers announcing that it has discontinued the boxed versions of its Logic Studio and Logic Express audio software packages effectively immediately, also announcing that the Logic Pro 9 and MainStage 2 components will be moving to the Mac App Store for distribution.

The report notes Apple said “new” versions of Logic Pro 9 and MainStage 2 (components of Logic Pro) would be coming to the Mac App Store, although it’s unclear what that means for Logic Express (essentially a light version of Logic Pro 9), and Soundtrack Pro. The packaged version of Logic Studio currently sells for $499.

In June Apple released a completely redesigned, and some would argue scaled back, version of their Final Cut Pro video editing suite called Final Cut Pro X. That update was also released as a download through the Mac App Store, but wasn’t well received, and some fear that the Logic apps are headed in the same direction. Apple just recently launched a universal iOS version of GarageBand, their consumer/amateur version of Logic Pro that ships with iLife. No word on a potential Logic Studio iOS app.

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