Within a day, Avid releases Sibelius for iPad

With a full article from Scoring Notes this morning, it is clear that Avid has been working on a version of Sibelius for iPad…and chose to release it a day after Dorico had the attention of the music technology industry. You can find the post here: https://www.scoringnotes.com/reviews/sibelius-arrives-on-ipad/

I’m downloading the app now, but as a person who doesn’t use Sibelius, I’m not sure what functionality will be in the app for me. According to Scoring Notes, your functionality is dependent on your current ownership or subscription to Sibelius on the Mac or Windows. That will make the app the equivalent of Sibelius First, but I’m not sure what that offers.

From the introductory video on Scoring Notes, it is clear that Sibelius takes much more advantage of iPad gestures and functionality than Dorico, and it will be fun to interact with the app and to see what it can do. That said, Sibelius doesn’t offer any on-screen keyboards (like Dorico or Notion) and seems to have made a mistake on a touch based platform without including that way to input pitch. At this time, I do not know if Sibelius responds to an external MIDI keyboard. **Note: version 1 does not.

I keep coming back to the question: “Why now?” Certainly, with M1 iPads, the devices are now desktop class, and there are ways to share an app on several platforms with minor tweaks for those platforms. Still, the iPad has been around for more than a decade and has pretty much “lost” in the education space. That all said, the iPad is still my primary tool for creation of all kinds (including this post). I’m absolutely these programs are now available on the iPad, but it does feel like someone arriving late to the party—and then I also have to ask, “Where are MuseScore and Finale for the iPad?”

Finally, there’s a direct line from Avid to Dorico, as much of the core Dorico team was the former UK office of Sibelius. Doesn’t it seem strange that Dorico would release a surprise iPad app and then the former employer of many of that team would release an iPad app twenty four hours later? Maybe it’s a coincidence, but if so, it is still head-spinning. **Note: I have been told from secondary sources that this was a coincidence.

I’m off to work with Sibelius for a while and to see what it can do. A follow up post will reflect on my experiences on Dorico for iPad, Sibelius for iPad, with Notion for iPad (my long-time primary app) as a benchmark.