When it comes to music production, specifically in the case of Garageband but also for other DAWs, there are just a few specifications that you need to look at in order to make an informed purchase.
Those are the following:
1) Storage Space
3) Processor Speed
Keeping those specifications in mind, the best iPad for Garageband users is the 11″ Apple iPad Pro with 512GB of storage, with the A12x octa-core processor 2.49 GHz, and 4GB of RAM.
Truthfully, the best option would be to go up to the 1024 GB storage capacity option, however, it won’t be 100% necessary to have that much storage, unless price is no issue for you.
by the way, I have a list of all the best products for music production on my recommended products page, including deals, coupon codes, and bundles, that way you don’t miss out (including 50% off Melda Productions MCompleteBundle which is on sale NOW).
iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, and Apple, are all registered trademarks of Apple.
We’re at the stage now in technology where a portable device is no longer something that you use to read books, listen to music, answer phone calls, or watch Netflix.
The devices are becoming so powerful and compact now that it can be used for energy-intensive software and CPU-heavy functions.
For that reason, a lot of people on the market now are looking for a sleek, mobile, and powerful device that they can take on the road with them at all times.
An important point to keep in mind is that the latest edition of the iPad doesn’t come with a headphone jack, so it would be a wise decision to have a thunderbolt-multiport adaptor for all of your needs if you don’t already own one.
As I’ve written in other articles, at some point, you’re going to need a multi-port adaptor, so just get a heavy-duty one that has everything, including a headphone jack, an HDMI port, USB ports, etc.
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend a lot of money, I would recommend picking up an iPad Air instead, specifically the iPad Air 2.
Top Reasons Why The iPad Pro 11″ Is A Great Option
Portability and convenience is probably the number one reason why a powerful iPad, such as the iPad Pro, is such a great option.
They’re light-weight (1-pound), thin, sleek devices that you can take anywhere with you at any time.
This allows you to be as creative as you want pretty much wherever you want, rather than being limited to your home studio all of the time.
With that said, the 13″ MacBook Pro 2017 that I own is great for this purpose, and I don’t feel overly limited by its size.
This part is speculative, but I imagine that portability will be one of the defining features of what makes a product successful – at least in the case of music production – in the future.
People want all of their gear on the go now, or least the ability to so.
Coupled with other technological advancements, such as extremely compact audio interfaces like the iRig HD 2 or the iRig Pro I/O, you’ll have the ability to have a home studio wherever.
Furthermore, creativity is one of those things that are fleeting and spontaneous, so you may not always have your gear at your disposal, or by the time you have everything hooked up and ready to go again, it’s already lost and gone forever.
An easy-to-setup and portable piece of equipment that allows you to get started right away will allow you to quickly get those ideas out without ever losing them.
2) Touch Screen Functionality
This one may be a bit more controversial because not everybody likes using a touch-screen, but when you have the ability to change notes around, stretch them out, adjust EQ and other parameters using your fingers, it’s almost like you’re using old school equipment.
In other words, when you’re actually touching things to make changes, in comparison to a regular computer where you’re using a mouse, it’s much closer to the way that it used to be with analog equipment, where engineers actually had to turn knobs and adjust sliders manually.
Furthermore, it has the potential to be a lot faster because of its touch screen function, however, it is certainly going to take some getting used to.
3) Processing Power
Apple has made a lot of improvements in terms of processing power in recent years, for instance, the latest model of the iPad Pro has a faster processor than my 2017 MacBook Pro.
My MacBook Pro has just a 2.3 GHz speed, in comparison to the latest iPad Pro which has around 2.4 as well as eight cores.
The iPad Pro 11″ is going to do just fine when it comes to downloading and using a variety of different plug-ins and software at the same time if necessary.
4) It Can Turn Into A Drum Pad, Keyboard, And Other Instruments
The iPad Pro 11, unlike the MacBook Pro, has more functions in the sense that you can actually turn it into other instruments and pads, like a drum-pad or a keyboard.
Personally, I would probably not use the keyboard, because I prefer the tactile sensation of pressing down the keys, but it would be great for creating drum-beats on the go, similar to the way you might’ve finger-drummed in class when you were in high school like I’m pretty sure we all used to do.
With that said, if you really wanted to grow accustomed to using the MIDI keyboard on the iPad, you may find that you won’t even want or need an actual MIDI controller anymore.
5) Compatibility With New Equipment
Previously, if you wanted to use all your gear with your computer, there would always be a need to get an audio interface of some kind to get everything to work, and while you still need an audio interface to do many things, the newest iPads are more compatible with other gear.
Cons of Using The iPad Pro 11″
The truth about using Apple products, and pretty much all of them, is their price, which are in many cases quite expensive.
The best ones with the most memory, space, and RAM, are typically going to cost you around $1000 or least close to it.
The regular ones are a bit cheaper, but frankly, when it comes to energy-intensive software – which is often necessary for music production – you’re going to run into issues like crashing and so on.
With that said, if you really needed to save a bit of cash, you could take a risk and buy a refurbished iPad or an older one from eBay.
While mobile devices are getting better and better all of the time, the operating system of an iPad is still designed for iPhones and computers.
Over the last few years, Apple has made changes that make it a better option, including multitasking and drag-and-drop, but for the most part, the Mac versions of particular software are almost always better.
Moreover, certain capabilities still aren’t there, for instance, you can’t go into the file system and they often aren’t capable of using a mouse.
Furthermore, Apple does things on purpose like restricts the use of USB hard drives because they want you to pay more money for their iCloud storage.
3) Real Keyboards and Gear Are Always Better
This one is more about taste, but at least in my case, I would much rather use an actual drum pad or a real-life MIDI keyboard, rather than one for an iPad.
The touch screen is cool, but using real-life gear has a particular feel and quality to it that lends itself to creativity and performing.
It’s hard to say what’s going to happen in the future, especially since younger generations will probably get to the point where they actually prefer touch screen over the use of an actual instrument, due to the fact it’s simply something they’ve gotten used to.
All-in-all, if you’re in the market for a great iPad for music production, the iPad Pro 11″ is going to do you no wrong.