I never had a piano lesson, even though we had a piano in the house, growing up. That piano collected dust and was more useful as a piece of furniture to display picture frames on. I always wished I had more initiative and learned to play.
But today, thanks to the magic that is the Piano Apprentice from ION Audio
, I actually learned how to play the melody from The Entertainer! And it just took about 30 minutes! The Piano Apprentice is a creative combination of a physical piano keyboard, and a free app with several lessons included, and tight integration between the software and hardware.
Making music has been a part-time practice for me for decades now and I've dabbled in everything from guitar and piano to drums and didgeridoo. One thing that I've particularly enjoyed over the past several years is the way programs like Garage Band have made composing and recording great original tracks easy for everyone from amateurs like myself, to professionals like Trent Reznor, composer of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack and Nine Inch Nails frontman. And if Garage Band made things convenient before iOS, then since the arrival of Garage Band on iOS, recording whatever we are inspired to compose has truly become a graceful, portable and trouble-free affair.
So I was excited when I got the opportunity to try out the new Carbon 49 keyboard by Samson. The Carbon 49 is an economical and portable solution to MIDI music performance and it boasts a number of unique and valuable features to make the process of playing and capturing music an intuitive one, with high quality results. I got to spend hours jamming on this little instrument this week and here are some of my findings and feedback.
I go to a lot of tradeshows and I see a lot of iOS accessories, especially speakers. It's rare to find a speaker, especially a small one, that can make a nice sound and be heard in a noisy trade show environment. So when I saw, and heard, an early version of the Mighty Dwarf Blue II at January's Consumer Electronics Show, I was impressed. It's now shipping and I was able to test a unit. It's well made, in a sleek, black glossy casing that looks like a futuristic UFO! The unit even comes in a solid gift box that uses magnets to keep a 'sneak peek' flap closed.
Check out the Featured App Store bundles if you haven't yet. Several of the best apps you will likely find on the app store, all nicely sorted into related bins can be had thus. Last night I found myself perusing the dinosaur related app/games bundle (under Game Collections), and of course there is a 3D FPS game in there called Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter that I couldn't resist. The game turned out to be a mere 74MB of totally cool, and immersive hunting of the prehistoric beasties, which ran just fine even on my old original iPad with it's old-school graphics! Also this week, played with the latest release of Album Flow (see previous review here), since the developer made some interesting tweaks to the new version. Album Flow brings Cover Flow to iPad (or now iPhone), in case you were wondering, but with some interesting new capabilities. More news from the gaming realm at the end--lot's to cover so let's jump in, shall we...?
There's never a shortage of Apple-related headlines these days! Here's a brief look at a few stories that have caught my attention and which I wanted to share with all of you!
Don't let the water stop you!
I recently changed the premium music service on my iPad from Spotify to MOG. At the time I made the change Spotify did not have an iPad app. Even though Spotify does have an iPad app now, I am sticking with MOG.
If you haven't heard of Mobli, or tried out the App (available for free in the Apple App store), now is a great time! Mobli, the new, up-and-coming social photo/video App is currently hosting a wild month of daily contests, with a brand new, New iPad as the prize, EVERY DAY! Yes indeed, you read that right! In an unprecedented move, Mobli is, for the month of May, giving away a New iPad every single day! The requirements for entering the different daily contests are quite simple, relatively speaking, considering the prize.