Apple announced “major updates” to GarageBand for iOS and Logic Pro X on Wednesday (for NAMM), going so far as to issue a press release for the updates. The consumer-oriented GarageBand is getting the Alchemy synthesizer and a new browser for finding and using sounds. Apple’s professional DAW—Logic Pro X—gets support for Touch Bar, Track Alternatives, an updated interface, and other changes.
Both updates are free.
I’m pleased as punch to see both updates, but especially seeing Logic getting some love. After 2016, when Apple shipped just 14 new products, seeing substantive updates to any of Apple’s flagship software products is good.
I’ll add that the fact Apple issued a press release for two point updates—”major” or not—says the company is feeling the criticism over its recent lack of iterative improvements. That works for me. Scream it from the rooftops of Cupertino, and keep those updates coming.
Logic Pro X 10.3
The biggest feature in Logic Pro X 10.3 is a new interface. The update isn’t available on the App Store yet, and Apple didn’t push any media assets with the press release. That means we don’t yet know what it looks like, but I am pleased as punch to see forward movement on this front.
Touch Bar support is a natural, as Apple is keen on pushing its new MacBook Pro technology. The biggest feature I saw in the press release is the ability to use Touch Bar as a drum pad for creating beats. It will also have the kind of playback and other controls you might expect.
The other major new feature is Track Alternatives. This lets you create playlists of regions and edits and switch through them. Apple said, “This feature makes it easier to experiment with various creative ideas or evaluate different versions of a track as it evolves.” That seems quite clever and useful.
On the techy side, the update also adds 64-bit summing engine, 192 additional busses, and true stereo panning.
GarageBand 2.2 for IOS
GarageBand 2.2 for iOS has four major new features. The first is a redesigned sound browser for Touch Instruments. Apple says the new interface makes finding the right sounds faster.
The company also added the Alchemy Synthesizer, a feature that was added to Logic Pro X in version 10.2. It includes 150 Apple-designed patches designed for EDM, Hip Hop, Indie, Rock, Pop and more. There is also Transform Pad for Alchemy, which allows users to “morph between eight sonic snapshots in real-time, to create expressive synth performances.”
The third new feature is Multi-Take Recording, which allows musicians to make multiple passes through a take and pick which one to keep.
On the lighter side is Audio Recorder, a group of one-tap vocal effects.
The GarageBand update is showing up in the App Store as of this writing. It’s a 1.3GB over-the-air download, so update accordingly.
Logic Pro X 10.3 just showed up on the Mac App Store for me as a 502MB download. It’s not yet referenced on the Logic Pro X webpage. That should change sooner, rather than later.