Even though it's less than two years old, the iPad's role in transforming every industry from aviation to education to media is nearly complete. You've probably heard about iPads helping pilots and teaching kids the alphabet. And you've surely checked out an iPad magazine or two. But how much do you know about the iPad as a musical instrument? Lately, there have been three exciting revelations made about its potential.
The iPad can make you a Beatle
Okay, that header might be a bit of a stretch, but based on the latest project by Dhani Harrison, the son of the late Beatle George Harrison, the potential exists. Harrison will soon release an iPad app, The Guitar Collection: George Harrison, that will allow anyone to play each and every one of the guitars in the collection he inherited from his father -- virtually, of course. "Paintings should be in museums and should be able to be seen," he told The New York Times's Dave Itzkoff. "Instruments should have to be played every once in a while. Otherwise they’ll perish." The app is affordable enough, too. Starting on February 23, you can download it for $9.99 and tap-slash-jam away on George Harrison's 12-string Rickenbacker 360/12 or his Day-Glo-painted Fender Stratocaster named Rocky. Itzkoff notes that the app is packed with interactive features, from an explanation of how Harrison acquired the guitars to videos of Harrison playing them. If you don't own an iPad, you can just go down to the Apple Store and jam on theirs. Since Apple fought so hard to get the Beatles into their iTunes store, we have no doubt they'll promote the heck out of this one.
The iPad can help you understand Björk
Let's be honest: Björk is pretty strange. If you're not already a fan, you might've heard some of her songs on the radio or seen her in movies -- Dancing in the Dark is a wonderfully weird musical sort of thing -- but you probably don't really get her music. (We're long-time fans and we don't get it.) However, her latest album, Bibliophilia, offers a glimpse into the Icelandic artist's mind through a free iPad app. In lieu of a world tour, Björk let the iPad app become a piece of performance art in its own right. Once you download the free "mother app," you can unlock "rooms" and buy more apps within the app. (This is already starting to sound like a Jorge Luis Borges short story.) While it's not for everyone, one of The Guardian's music writers freaking loved it. "When I first saw this app unveiled a couple of weeks ago at a press conference in Manchester I was concerned the visuals would detract from the music, but in fact it fixes your attention on the record – you can't just switch off and read Twitter," Alex Needham wrote last summer. "The scrolling score is mesmerising; a bit like having an animated version of the lyric sheets I used to pore over as a teenager when I'd just bought an album, and restores -- via a touch screen and headphones -- some of the intimacy you can have with music." Oh yeah, and the whole thing is narrated by David Attenborough, just like the highly acclaimed television series Planet Earth. Drugs not included.
The iPad can make you a rock star, too!
Once you get tired of toying around in famous musicians' universes, there are a host of iPad apps that serve as musical instruments. (See this list.) Whether you want to be a club-thumping DJ or a concert pianist, there's an app for you. Based on the iPad music we've heard, we can't say that it's Philharmonic quality or anything, but it's certainly a good starting point. At the very least, you might become moderately YouTube famous. Like these guys: