Last week at the MacWorld Expo Steve Jobs announced a few new products. Since I now own two Macs (I got an iMac 17″ this Christmas from my lovely and loving wife), I feel like it is now my duty to listen to Steve Jobs’ keynotes. I get the impression a lot of Apple fans are disappointed with the product annoucements that were just made. The mini iPod was the thing that’s gotten most of the press coverage It’s a 4 GB model that is slightly smaller than the smalled current iPod, and it costs $249. I’m sure some people will buy this product, but the price is a bit too high right now.
I’m more excited about the new iLife Suite of programs, which will ship automatically with every Mac. The new iLife has a better version of iPhoto that will handle large photo libraries. That’s good because mine is huge and the old version of iPhoto struggled a bit.
But the thing that has me most excited is Garageband, which is a program that lets you record, edit and mix music. So now I can plug my guitar directly into my Mac and record a track, and then overdub additional tracks, including vocals. Garageband also has loops of pre-recorded music and drum tracks that you can use to build your own songs. Of course, you can do this without Garageband (and you certainly don’t need an Apple computer to do it), but being able to do this right out of the box when you buy a Mac is wonderful and I suspect this will solidify Apple’s reputation as the computer to use for creative projects.
Over the years I’ve tried to use my Roland Synthesizer (and assortment of guitars and microphones) to record into a computer, but I haven’t been able to get a set-up that was really simple. As a result, I’ve sort of abandoned the quest to create music with my computer. I suppose you could say that if I really wanted to create music I could with the current tools that are out there, so I must not want to record music bad enough.
Actually, the problem is that I don’t feel like jumping through a bunch of hoops to record music. Making music is just one of the things I like to do, and if I’m going to record into my computer it has to be easy to do –ridiculously easy. The good news for me is that Garageband will make it ridiculously easy. Another cool thing is that once I record something I can export it directly to iTunes and burn it to a CD, or put it on my iPod. The only bad thing is that my current Macs won’t have the latest version of iLife, but of course I can buy the upgrade. And since the upgrade is only $49 it’s a ‘no brainer’ for me.
If I manage to record anything I like I’ll be surprised, but my lack of success won’t be for lack of having the rigtht software. For musicians with talent they can upload their Garageband creations to a site (that is not affiliated with Apple) called www.garageband.com. Apparently, Apple is partnering with this site, and licensed the name ‘Garageband’ as part of its new product release. I’m sure that the Garageband site will find it has a lot more activity now that Apple has made it easy as pie for people to create digital music.