Apple have announced a pair of new iPads: The iPad Air and the iPad Mini. These two new devices enter a current lineup with the “standard” 9.7” iPad and the iPad Pro. So are these new iPads useful to the production community?
While it is possible to record and mix on an iPad, the practical limitations outweigh and benefits but the touchscreen interface of an iPad is extremely useful for controlling apps on desktop and laptop computers and the Pro Tools Control App or the Studio One Remote App are fantastic supplements to the desktop apps. Is there room in the lineup for these new ones?
Both models have A12 Bionic chips and come in 64 or 256GB versions. They have lightning connectors unlike the iPad Pro models with their USB C connectors and both models have Touch ID rather than Face ID. Both have proper mini jack sockets for headphones - no silly adaptors here. They both feature support for the Apple Pencil though only the original Pencil is supported rather than the new, wireless charging version introduced last year. With the similarities dealt with how do they differ?
The new iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. That equals 326 pixels per inch and costs from $399.
The new iPad Air features a 10.5-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2224 x 1668, which equals around 264 pixels per inch. Costs start from $499
How Useful Are The New iPads For Audio Production?
For music creation there are lots of very serious apps available, synthesists in particular are well catered for and technology like Ableton Link make creation apps very creative indeed but for production there are fewer applications but the most significant to Pro Tools users has to be the Pro Tools Control App. As the cheapest point of entry into the Eucon ecosystem the Pro Tools iPad app is something of a must have and while it works very well on a standard iPad, a little extra screen size over the 9.7 inches of the standard iPad would be very welcome indeed. The Mini is difficult to see a use for in a pro environment but the iPad Air would work very nicely indeed particularly when paired with an Artist Mix, an S3 or especially with an Avid Dock.
What About The Apple Pencil?
While there isn’t much to be gained at preset for people on the engineering side of production, the iPad Pro is very popular with musicians who use scores, Sibelius integrates to some extent with Pro Tools but at present the only way to manipulate a Sibelius score on an iPad is to mark a copy up which has been exported via Scorch. If an iOS version of Sibelius were available then pencil support and a less expensive iPad on which to use this fine control would be welcomed.
Do you use an Apple Pencil in your work? How do you use it?