As if we needed another reminder as to how powerful Apple’s iPad has become, even outclassing some lower end laptop and desktop machines, Apple has announced that Logic Pro for iPad will be launching this month.
Mac musicians and producers with Logic Pro have had access to arguably the best integrated controller app in the guise of Logic Remote, and that’s still an option, but Apple is utilising the full power of the A12 Bionic chip (and beyond) and iPadOS 16.4 by pushing out much higher end apps.
Although we don’t have a complete specification/feature breakdown of Logic Pro for iPad, and how directly it compares and stands up against the Mac version, early indications are that it holds its own very well, is highly capable, of course benefits from the touch capabilities of the tablet environment, and can be used in conjunction with Logic Pro for Mac to work on projects. This suggests it is not wildly different in capability, although as always some high end audio functions and larger projects may struggle just as they can do on the Mac. It will depend on individual settings and hardware performance.
We can expect to see this kind of cross-platform capability happening much more now that the latest Mac and iPad architectures are so similar. It’s already possible to run a large number of iOS and iPadOS apps on a Mac, and syncing options between Apple devices has never been stronger.
iPad users who have become accustomed to using GarageBand may well be pleased to know that projects can be imported into Logic Pro for iPad. Ironically this is something the Mac version of Logic Pro doesn’t do (directly, at least) which is somewhat amusing.
Apple looks to have made the most of the touch environment while also implementing interface features that make it easier to find and work with sounds, effects and plug-ins from a slightly smaller screen real-estate than you might have on a Mac. This includes touch-sensitive software instruments and a predictive filtering system which attempts to find new sounds you might be interested in, as well as various ways of viewing, accessing and editing tracks, effects and so on.
A lot of the included features, including beat breaker, quick sampler and Live Loops seem aimed more at the electronic musician but can of course be used for any genre if desired.
In terms of interacting with additional hardware, Apple states that you’ll be able to plug in your favourite gear using compatible third-party audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces and controllers from leading manufacturers like Apogee, Focusrite, Novation and Universal Audio, to name a few.
Now then, here’s the stinger which may be a deal-breaker for some people. Where as Logic Pro for Mac has (at least until now) been a traditional one-time payment, Logic Pro for iPad will be a subscription based app. It will cost $4.99 per month or $49 per year to subscribe and have the privilege of using the app. It’s not clear what happens to your projects if you stop paying, and whether they are still usable in Logic Pro for desktop.
It’s arguably a smart business move, one that has worked for the likes of Adobe with its creative suite of products, and Reason has also recently introduced. Some people rebel strongly against the idea of subscribing to software, but it seems to be a model which is here to stay. In any case, you pay to play, or else you stick to other apps such as Logic Remote or GarageBand which don’t use this model.
Regardless of the payment model, Logic Pro for iPad does appear to be a highly capable music production platform, and could certainly get you a long way to completing tracks even if you finalise and master them on a Mac.
You can read more about the features here.