Sing your heart out with the help of Apple's new Music Memo app and updated GarageBand

It’s been nearly three years since Apple made GarageBand partially free on iOS, and the Cupertino company has been shaping the music maker into a veritable creation suite ever since. It would appear its efforts have so far been successful — GarageBand’s masterful mix of easy-to-use features and flexible extensions has earned it endorsements from artists spanning Hans Zimmer to T-Pain —  but starting today, the app’s evolving dramatically. In conjunction with the release of Music Memo, a new music recording tool for iPhone and iPad, Apple’s distributing a significant update to GarageBand that adds loop-based sampling, support for the iPhone 6S’s 3D Touch, and a metric ton more.

The updated GarageBand’s undoubted headliner, Live Loops, will be familiar to users of sampling apps such as Loopy and Loopr. The premise is simple: from a colored, tappable grid, you can toggle any number of samples to create looping tracks in real time. Apple’s made it easy to get the hang of — the Live Loops panel comes pre-loaded with thousands of sampled sounds and templates in genres including EDM, Hip Hop, Dubstep — but more advanced users can import custom creations and sounds and adjust effect settings such as filter and reverb. Better still, Live Loops’ syncing smarts normalizes both the time and pitch of each sample, ensuring that your (or anyone else’s) vocal experiments don’t clash too harshly with Apple’s pre-recorded bites.

GarageBand has also inherited Logic Pro X’s Drummer, nine virtual EDM and acoustic session drummers. It’s gained an automation curve editor for volume control, plus an improved EQ interface, better compatibility with third-party instrument apps, iCloud Drive integration, and support for up to 32 tracks. If you’re lucky enough to have a bass guitar with a compatible adapter lying around, you can plug it in to play through new software-based vintage and modern bass amps, too. Neat.



Also worth mentioning: GarageBand now takes advantage of the iPad Pro’s larger screen, squeezing more instruments and tracks into a single view on the monster tablet’s 12.9-inch display. And on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, keyboard sounds support “polyphonic” 3D Touch: when the feature’s enabled, you’ll feel haptic resistance as you press on the keys.

The revamped GarageBand’s complimented by Apple’s new, free recording app: Music Memo. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to it — you tap a glowing blue button to start recording and then begin singing or playing your heart out. The magic’s in the processing, though: finish recording and Music Memo automatically analyzes the track, recording the tempo, transcribing the notes on a digital notepad, charting chord changes, and even identifying any instruments playing the background. From there, Music Memo lets you attach lyrics or additional instrument tracks, add notes and ratings, and share the sample with friends or collaborators via e-mail, messaging, and iCloud. Tracks are saved as uncompressed audio in formats that, as you’d expect, play nicely with non-linear audio editors such as GarageBand. It’s barebones, but that seems to be the point: bringing down the barrier to music creation’s flow.

GarageBand and the new MusicMemo are rolling out simultaneously. The former’s available for free to existing users, or $4.99 to new users.

Home Theater

Hi-res streaming audio service Qobuz arrives in U.S., threatens Tidal’s monopoly

For several years, Tidal enjoyed a monopoly on hi-res music streaming in the U.S. Now, French company Qobuz is here to offer some competition with a variety of monthly plans starting at $10 a month.

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

These 30 useful apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.

How to check your IMEI number on an iPhone, Android, or other device

If you're wondering how to check your IMEI number, then this guide will show you how to do it, regardless of what phone you have. You can find your IMEI number using the dialer, in settings, or in a couple of other places.

Need more power now? Here's how you can fast charge your iPhone

The new iPhones have almost everything an iOS addict could want -- except for a fast charger. If you need your iPhone powered back up in a hurry, here's everything you need to know to get your iPhone charged up quickly.

The Apollo Traveller is the fastest recharging power bank we’ve ever used

Power banks are getting better all the time, but the Apollo Traveller from Elecjet hits new heights in terms of charging and recharging speeds thanks to the use of a graphene composite for cooling. Here's what happened when we tried it out.

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for February 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

These are the 6 best free antivirus apps to help protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Get ready for new AirPods, MacBooks as rumored dates for Apple WWDC 2019 emerge

Apple developers and fans alike look forward, every year, to the company's World Wide Developer Conference, WWDC, and for this year, we already have the rumored dates that might bring us Apple's latest tech announcements.

This Mac keyboard is slim, dark, and clicky, but it’s still not perfect

There aren't many great mechanical keyboards for Macs. The Keychron K1 is just the latest attempt to join that hallowed group, but does its blend of style and substance tick all the boxes?

One of these monitors will look great next to your new MacBook Pro

Apple doesn't make its beloved Cinema Display monitors anymore, which makes finding the best monitor for the MacBook Pro more difficult. In this guide, we break down some of our favorites and offer something for every size and budget.

Smartwatch sales soared in 2018, with Apple leading the charge

The NPD Group, a market research organization, has reported smartwatch sales soared in 2018. Apple is leading the charge, but it's clear there's still room in the market for competitors, as Samsung and Fitbit also did well.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.