Apple Revamps GarageBand App for Musicians, Releases Music Memos App

The new Music Memos app makes it easy to capture spur-of-the-moment song ideas, while GarageBand gets instrument and feature updates.

Apple, GarageBand, music apps, iOS, iPhones, iPads, cirtual drummer

Apple's GarageBand app just received a host of useful upgrades that add new capabilities for musicians, while a new Music Memos app (pictured) for iOS makes it easy and quick for songwriters to get their latest inspirations into digital form on the fly.

Both musical tools were announced by Apple on Jan. 20 on iTunes. Music Memos is free, while GarageBand costs $4.99.

The Music Memos app can be used on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to record acoustic guitar, piano or other musical instruments, as well as voice, in high-quality, uncompressed audio tracks. Users can build personal libraries of their song components and riffs using Music Memos, which also lets them instantly hear their creations. Songs created in the app can be exported into the GarageBand app for more refining.

Music Memos gives musicians the ability to record their latest song and musical ideas using their iPhone, iPad or iPod, and then put them together using the sounds of various instruments and other features. Users can then listen to their recorded song ideas to make changes, additions and other customizations.

When a spur-of-the-moment musical idea arises, Music Memos can be used to quickly and easily get the new song creation started with a simple screen tap. The app allows users to record high-quality, uncompressed audio through the built-in microphone of their Apple device or through an external microphone. Music Memos is optimized to work with an acoustic guitar or piano, but works with other musical instruments, too.

Music Memos lets users hear how their music will sound when joined by tracks from a virtual drummer and a bass player. Users can modify and tweak the energy and performance of the drums or bass with a few simple on-screen controls in the app.

Music Memos also lets users organize their song ideas with names, tags and descriptions so the pieces can be saved and integrated into other creations later. By tagging songs or components with descriptions such as Intro, Bridge, Verse, Upbeat or Mellow, users can easily find the pieces later when they are needed as inspirations for other songs.

Songs created in Music Memos can also be moved into the GarageBand app to add more advanced features and capabilities as needed. Users can export their tracks into GarageBand on iOS or GarageBand or Logic Pro X on a Mac. Users can also email song ideas to friends or collaborators; add the tracks to their iTunes library; or post them to Apple Music Connect, SoundCloud or YouTube directly from the app.

GarageBand's New Features

Apple has updated the GarageBand app with new virtual drummer and Live Loops features, which make it easy to add captivating drum beats and accompaniment to songs, while Live Loops gives users the ability to make music like a DJ by setting up music loops and audio effects in real time. On-screen controls let users add sounds from instruments including a piano, organ, guitar and drums.

GarageBand's virtual drummer lets users choose from nine acoustic or electronic drummers to add drum performances as needed.

The app includes a wide range of sounds from musical instruments through its Touch Instruments capabilities. Touch Instruments sound and respond like the real thing and allow users to add keyboards, guitars, bass and much more.

Musicians can use GarageBand across their Apple devices using iCloud, which keeps GarageBand sessions up to date across all of a user's iOS devices. Songs can be started on one device and then worked on or completed on another device.