What’s Missing on the iPad in terms of Music Education?

The iPad 2 was released yesterday, and for all intents and purposes, sold out.  Many consumers either were not able to buy a device, or bought a device that did not match their desired configuration (e.g. My family bought a 64GB white wi-fi model, when we would have purchased a 32GB model, had it been available, and we did not buy the iPad which will replace my current iPad).  If you order an iPad 2 online, you will currently (at the time of writing) wait 4-5 weeks to receive your device.  Compare that to the launch of any other tablet, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Motorola Zoom, and it is clear that no other tablet has the interest of the consumer like the iPad.

So although you could say that purchase-able iPads are missing in stores, or that the iPad doesn’t have an attached keyboard, SD reader, USB port and so on, what I want to discuss is the apps that are missing for the iPad.  The iPad is limited only by the creative minds of app developers who take the open “slate” (pun intended) and make the iPad do things no one has ever thought of before.

What functionality is missing on the iPad?

  1. SmartMusic.  There are 15 million 1st Generation iPads in the wild.  At least another 600,000 were sold this weekend.  Schools are adopting the iPad at an unbelievable rate.  The iPad can sustain full duplex communication, and an adapter could easily be made to allow the iPad to be connected to a speaker while still recording through the device’s microphone.   SmartMusic for the iPad is simply overdue at this point (And yes, I’ve written MakeMusic about this).
  2. Advances in Pages.  Pages is Apple’s word processor, and it works well.  However, it lacks in a few basic features, such as creating a landscape document and customizing tabs (to allow for …………………….. in programs and so on).
  3. AirPlay for non-gaming apps.  It is one thing to be able to mirror the image from your iPad to a TV or a Projector with a wire, it’s another thing altogether to do so wirelessly. Classrooms are an environment where another wire is never good–and one less wire is always better.
  4. As I prepare an article on elementary music education apps, it becomes painfully clear that there is no Music Ace or similar app for the iPad (Yes, I’ve contacted them and suggested it).
  5. A book rental system for iBooks.  Think about a media center that needs to check out eBooks to students…for recreational reading or for classes.  There should be a way for a school (or a public library) to check out an eBook to a student (or citizen) with an embedded “time out.”
  6. SmartScore for the iPad.  I upgraded to the full version of SmartScore, the embedded scanning app for Finale, and the accuracy of scanning has improved off the charts.  Granted, the camera on the iPad 2 isn’t the greatest, so maybe this is a dream–but wouldn’t it be great to take pictures of a score, import it to SmartScore, edit major mistakes, and export that XML file to another program?
  7. I love Symphony Pro, which has updates coming soon.  I have no problem  bringing music XML files created in Finale into Symphony Pro (not possible yet, but it will be).  However, I realize that many Finale (and Sibelius) users will be reluctant to “jump ship” or learn another interface.  Therefore, iPad versions of both applications would be of great assistance to many users.
  8. Audacity for the iPad.  A true music editing suite.

Have other thoughts of what is missing?  Send me an e-mail (address to the right) and I’ll list those suggestions here.


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