This new iPad dock from Alesis is the first of its kind, designed to make the iPad a portable and easy-to-use interface for creating, producing, and performing music. The iO Dock ($399) transforms your iPad (or iPad 2) into a professional tool for musicians, producers, and recording engineers, allowing users to create and produce music with connected instruments and professional gear, or all alone with one of the numerous iPad music-creation apps. Almost any instrument or professional gear can be connected to the dock, which also includes Core MIDI support and two combination XLR and 1/4-inch inputs. A convenient guitar-direct switch lets the guitarist play and record right into the iPad’s amplifier- or effects-modeling apps. We’re not going to say we know everything about the technical mumbo-jumbo, head on over here to get all the details, but we’d say that this is a pretty smart way to combine the functionality of creative apps with traditional recording methods.