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GarageBand in your pocket

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GarageBand on the iPhone could work.

Steve Jobs has claimed that the iPhone runs a true version of Mac OS X. Third party applications may be limited to web applications on Safari, but Apple can decide to put any program that works on OS X onto the iPhone. What Apple application would be a good candidate for a device like the iPhone?

I think GarageBand would be an excellent candidate for porting over to the iPhone. I suggest “porting over” instead of putting the full application onto the iPhone because of usability. The interface would require some tweaking for using the application on such a small screen and be easy to use.

GarageBand could easily act as a voice recorder for notes or for podcasting. A plethora of accessories are bound to be developed for the iPhone through its dock connector. A different microphone could easily be attached through the dock connector for more sensitive recording applications.

Additionally, if this device truly runs OS X, it should be able to support external USB devices. A dock connector to USB attachment is bound to be developed which would allow the use of hundreds of new devices with the iPhone. This could allow hooking up an iPhone to a USB mixing board or an external hard drive or adding additional flash memory for recording on the go. GarageBand on the iPhone, with the right peripherals, could be a music studio in your pockets.

25 Responses to “GarageBand in your pocket”

  1. thisthat

    Sony already has loop-based software on their phones. No recording, but simple loops can be strung together to make a ringtone. If sony can handle that, why can’t apple? Also, Sony has video-editing software on their phones as well, and it is quite functional. Transitions, titles, clip edits, arrangements, a whole load of features on a phone.

  2. jestersdead

    Can you load files to gmail through the OS X interface on the phone?

    To record any kind of intstrument through USB would almost surely overwork the processor, unless it were a low volume condensor mic with low output that you could directly connect to your iPhone. They have those now, USB mics, but then you’d have to have the iPhone recognize it for what it was when it was connected to the iPhone. New challenge. Peripherals.

  3. Wandering Through

    The base software/firmware that comes on the iPhone doesn’t do anything to bog down it’s processor. Within the last few months the new Beta versions of Apple’s SDK may create an Apps explosion and people will start flooding their phones with tons of crap that may slow it down. Pretend you don’t do that.

    But as it has been said, with the right combination of the parts of GarageBand, you could put together some pretty fun little projects. May sound kind of laughable, but small groupings of midi tracks to build loops, downloaded and used as needed or erased as desired allows for a variety of sounds without wasting tons of space (instead of every guitar with effect, piano with synth, or drum); a Record To feature (is/and/or voice note); limit the files to a combination of tracks and layers; and a compression tool to blend multi tracks to a single track (taking final size down — problem, usually can’t be undone). Yeah, you would end up with a small mediocre clip that won’t play over 128kbps. But you’re no Fallout Kanya Foo Fighter pro. And remember, it’s a friggin phone!!! Remember the first nokia polyphonics that had a scale of two octaves? And they were all in the tone of a chirp.

    Anyway, that gives you the software mixing tools you’d find on a simple low to mid capacity digi 4 track you’d pick up at guitar center or something but with the added benefit of having a screen to drag and drop location of loops.

    Other’s are right though, capacity could become an issue. But if you’re carrying around 4 gigs of music, have a hand full of misc. crap on your phone, a couple images and a video short you downloaded from youtube, you’re still golden (as long as they’re not all playing simultaneously). If you’re carrying around multiple gigs of pics on your phone, you’re an idiot. A 2mp camera’s images aren’t big at all. You can unload them easily to your home PC (apple, win, linux, whatever) — Unless you’re using your phone as a bluetooth flashdrive to transfer your RAW file portfolio — In that case, you’re just too darn creative and need to pick one to carry around with you at every second of the day. Or use that wonderful thing called the internet, open a gmail account and email the extras to yourself. C’mon, musicians aren’t THAT lazy, freeing up space isn’t so tough.

    Sounds good? It shouldn’t be for creating the perfect masterpiece. But if you get a beat in your head, some lyrics you can’t write down, or a nifty little riff you don’t want to forget, pull out your phone, spend 15 minutes, then when you get home, load it to your Mac and finish it off.

  4. Matthew V Brorsen

    As a concert goer, imagine the posibility of using the itouch with an external mic. No more lugging around my mac to record… Just give us musicians a 4-track please Steve.

    Its all about the music

  5. Bushpatrol

    That sounds cool but really iPhone could not support this app,sure the iPhone is amazing but this is something that the iPhone just cant do.Sure garage band sounds like a perfect match for the iphone and it would be awesome if you could set it as your ringtone.But it just does not sound like a good idea for the iphones capabalities.IMO up to an extent I really don’t care if garagband is usabable or not its just something to kill the time.Besides who really wants to produce music on a phone anyway!

  6. If there was a way to hook up a high quality microphone to the iphone, you could record a jam session in you’re buddy’s garage. Or what if there was an adapter so you could plug your guitar right into the ipod and record seperate tracks for each instrument, and save the editing for when you get home on your Mac. I would totally use this feature if they could add it.

  7. I think it is a good idea, but with the sensors available on the iPhone I think that something much more interesting could be done than just having a version of GB as runs on the desktop.

  8. Um, the iPhone already has a USB connector. It’s the connector at the bottom that plugs into a mobile dock. Or adapter. How else do you think you sync the iPhone with iTunes, Safari bookmarks, address book, etc., Bluetooth? Nope. Good ol’ USB 2.

    As for processing power, you tell me. How much power does it take to render web pages, Google Sat maps, and movies with stero audio? A system like this should easily handle recording in the right codec. Capacity would seem to be the main factor.

  9. secundat

    Yes, you merely need good voice note management.
    Which I am not sure the iphone has on board.

    But you can call any voice mail, or answering machine in the world and do
    similar. WIth the phone you own now.

    Someone needs to pass this discussion on to those actually record with an iPod now. 7 gig available is quite a bit of mono phonic record time, if you keep the iPhone spare.

    If you want to record your karaoke performances merely turn on the car radio, and sing into your phone.

  10. For the same reason video recording capability isn’t in an iPhone, same goes for GarageBand – processing power.

    One other thing to remember when considering any new apps – disk size. Awfully tough to fit anything more on that 4GB hard drive one you have the OS, music, maybe an iTunes video or two, and your photos.

  11. Yeah, dreaming is fun. However, you gotta remember that you’re talking about things that make my dual 1.83 ghz Core Duo iMac struggle. Recording voice notes is one thing (heck, current iPods can do that) but multitrack recording, mixing, and effects processing on a phone? Not this decade, and I don’t care what OS it’s running.

  12. This is a great idea. And since the GB interface is all about moving around and swapping tracks, it would be a natural match for Multi-touch, right?

    You can imagine re-arranging multiple tracks and lining them up with a flick of the fingers.

  13. This would be fantastic for mobile recording and podcasting… the only issue I see is the extent to which the processor in the iPhone can handle the load. I suspect it can, but of course it would depend on the number of bells and whistles ported over with this hypothetical version of iPhone-Garageband. I highly doubt I would edit any podcast on the iPhone, so there’s probably only the need for a small-footprint recording software for my purposes.

    Then again… if I could edit a podcast on a plane or on the metro with my iPhone, that would be pretty damn cool…

  14. Although Garageband would be a great app to have on the iPhone, the “engine” that drives many audio/video apps is indeed QuickTime, perhaps we’ll see that fairly early on. Since you can record with QuickTime- maybe this isn’t such a far out idea.