I was inclined to write off yesterday’s MacWorld keynote by Steve Jobs as a total disappointment; no significantly new hardware was announced and the mini iPod is overpriced. The new iLife suite is an real improvement, but I won’t get to see the software any time soon. For some reason, the UK educational pricing knocks off a stunning 22p off the £39 price; why bother making it any different?
Then I began to think a little more about the new GarageBand music composition software; it really is very cheap compared to anything else on the market. If and when I get iLife, and if the midi keyboard isn’t overpriced, I imagine it could be a lot of fun. I haven’t played the piano for a long time now although if one is around and there’s suitable music available I’ll have a play; if the instrument samples in GarageBand are as good as Jobs claims they are, this could be more enjoyable than any laptop upgrade or cheap iPod.
I think people are underestimating the impact of GarageBand; it just isn’t easy at all for the majority of people to compose or record ‘live’ music. They just wouldn’t know where to start. What GarageBand offers is a non-intimidating and simple way to plug a few instruments in and mix them together using different synth instruments and backing. Personally, I find playing music to an accompaniment much more natural and enjoyable than playing on my own, for the most part – GarageBand will hopefully let me create a virtual accompanist.