Yesterday, after its iPad event, Apple released an updated version of GarageBand for iOS that includes a few new features. First is Smart Strings. Similar to the other smart modes, Smart Strings makes it easy to control a set of string instruments and to have them work together to create music on the fly. There's also a new note editor, as well as iCloud integration that allows you to push a track to iCloud so you can then access it from your other iOS devices. Lastly, Jam Sessions allows multiple iOS devices to all play together, mimicking a live jam session. Pretty neat. You can download the update now from the App Store, or buy it for $4.99.
Ever since I picked up an Apple iPad 2, I've spent more time with it than my original iPad. At 1.3 pounds, the 33 percent thinner iPad 2 is unquestionably more comfortable to hold and offers the promise of greater speed and utility. In some cases, doing what was once impossible with an iPad 1 is obvious. I could never, for instance, shoot or edit video with my old device. The remaining iPad 2 differences, however, are harder to spot; so I spent some time this weekend in search of them.
The iPad 2 has always had an accelerometer, which basically tells the device if it's in motion. It's great for, say, driving games, so you can steer with the whole device. I use this when playing Real Racing HD. Now the iPad 2 has a three-axis gyroscope, which not only recognizes motion, but the speed and angle of it. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's still hard to find any apps (from Apple or anyone else) that use it.
Apple reports at least two games that take advantage of the new gyroscope: "Dead Space" from EA and "N.O.V.A 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD." According to the "Dead Space" page in the App Store, version 1.0.2, which was released on the same day the iPad 2 arrived in stores, now has "more intuitive controls of your movement". This is made possible through "Y-Axis Inversion". No mention of gyroscope axis, but I'm guessing that's probably what EA is talking about. I downloaded the game to try it out.
At this mornings iPad 2 event, Apple showed the video above for the first time. It's about six minutes long, and gives a peek into everything you should expect from the new iPad, as well as some details about what's going on under the hood, and a look at the new iMovie and Garageband iPad apps.