Sometimes the entire concept for an app becomes outdated. Mobile music apps were once seen to be fun tools for creating live music with friends: something that could perhaps be recorded, but no one ever dreamed of producing the next hit on a phone.
A few years later and we are already seeing whole albums recorded entirely using iOS apps, driving a demand for a feature-set that cannot feasibly be added to some of our older apps with their clean and singular design. To cater for this new breed of mobile musician we have distilled our ideas into a new professional app: “Looptical” that goes the distance on features and genuinely allows the creation of an entire song from start to finish on an iPhone. Some of our older apps still provide a great experience, but no longer fit with our vision of mobile music creation, and so we've placed them here to take a back seat and grow old gracefully.
We can think of no better way to remember these apps than with the following video where Guitarist, Bassist and Organist where used by iFourmance to redefine the sound of an "iPhone Band".
Originally released in 2008, Band allowed anyone, regardless of musical ability, to go beyond just listening to other people's music on the iPhone or iPod Touch, and actually create music themselves from scratch. Although lacking many features of modern music applications such as MIDI, quantization, and automation - at the time it was considered hugely innovative. In particular, it featured the first example on a mobile device of a musical scale that could be played by sliding a finger up and down the screen - an interface that has been used since in just about every keyboard app. It was demoed live on-stage during the 2008 WWDC Steve Jobs Keynote, was in the top 5 downloaded apps at the launch of the App Store, and went on to be listed in the Top 10 Music Apps for 2008.
One of the first guitar apps for the iPhone, Guitarist allowed you to mix a rhythm and solo guitar track in one recording. It was the first mobile app that let you visually drag a string to bend the note, and the first to allow you to play notes by tapping directly on a fret in a “Hammer-On / Pull-Off” technique (since used by all guitar apps). It contained a number of innovative interfaces to allow you to play the guitar, from entering the tab notation for a song and tapping your way through it, to an extension of the “Band” scale instrument that let you play any of a large number of scales in any key by running a finger about the screen. It was also the first to allow you to add a Wah-Wah effect while playing by tilting your iPhone. It was listed in the Top 10 Music Apps and the Top 100 Apps Overall for 2008, and was used in the official Apple Guided Tour video for the launch of the iPhone 3GS.
The first bass guitar app in the App Store, Bassist was designed purely as a live performance instrument. Such was the quality of the sound, and the simplicity of the design, that it has been used in just about every YouTube “mobile phone band” performance since then. The key feature was the multi-sampling of every fret so that each trigger of a note would sound slightly different. It was number 4 in the Music App Charts on release, and has been featured by Apple in promotional material.
Released in December 2008, Organist contained sounds for both electric and pipe organs. It featured the innovation of a split keyboard, allowing a greater number of keys to be accessible on the iPhone screen: something commonplace in modern music apps. It reached number 10 in the Music App Charts, and has been used by Apple in promotional material for the iPod Touch. It is still one of the few iPhone apps containing a pipe organ instrument.