MP4, AVI, MOV, FLV, MPG, MKV, MP3, AAC, WMA and WMV-do these formats sound familiar? StreamToMe can beam them all from your Mac to the iPad without much difficultly at all. You load the StreamToMe software onto your Mac (a background app that's probably familiar to those of you who've used software like Connect360) and download the $3 StreamToMe app in the App Store. Select the folders you'd like shared on your Mac, load the app on the iPad and BAM! All your sweet media is, literally, at your fingertips. (Note: Air Video, reviewed in our Productivity/Connectivity category, may be the way to go when it gets music support.) Full review here
Doesn't stream music continuously at this time, otherwise it's superb.
So this is cool—TabToolKit is a pretty decent file manager for guitar tabs, and on top of that, it can play back rich guitar tabs in realtime with fret or keyboard visualization, and on top of that, you can import tabs through your home network or just rip guitar tabs right from the web (though standard guitar tabs will just be copy & pasted into a unified font/interface, not translated into the full-out A/V interface you see here). The UI is as slick as it is understated, with plenty of useful customization options. Plus, it includes an iPhone version free. What's not to like? [iTunes]
An absolutely fantastic app if you play guitar.
$10 might be a lot to ask for a novelty iPad piano, but Pianist Pro has a lot more to offer. Sure, you can just play around with a piano keyboard with a few different synth options, and sure, you can record your workings on top of optional precanned drum loops. But there are whole other (polished) interfaces to explore, like a drum sequencer anda dummy-friendly scale keyboard (that keeps you playing in one key, no music knowledge required). I'm not sure any musician would want to deal with the quirks of a touchscreen to create music, but Pianist Pro feels so actualized that it must fill some niche out there—even if were not sure exactly which one. [iTunes]
Pianist Pro can serve just fine your digital trinket piano, or it can be quite a bit more.
Okay, there's a lot going on here. SoundHound is the new iteration of Midomi for the iPad and the good news—as I discovered—is that if you've already purchased Midomi on the iPhone then this is a free upgrade across all platforms. Score! The app acts as a renaissance man of sorts in regards to your iTunes library and music in general. The renowned Midomi music recognition software trumps Shazam's effortlessly since it needs less information to ID a song. Hell, you can even hum it if you're not too terrible and this little bugger will more than likely narrow your search down. It integrates effortlessly with your iPod library and picks up what track you're already playing if you choose to launch it. Lyric support is astounding and was even able to identify and locate some of my more obscure tracks. The overall look and feel have improved since the iPhone version as there's more room to play with, making it appear less crammed than prior editions. If you're familiar with Midomi we recommend picking this up.
Great lyric and music recognition support. Free upgrade if you already own the iPhone version, $5 otherwise.
After playing with PatternMusic for a while I'm still not sure I have a hold on this music-making app's cryptic interface, but in a category that will undoubtedly yield some of the priciest in the App Store, that's just a testament to how much functionality this free app packs. You won't be making any digital symphonies or anything, but for layering a few piano roll-pecked melodies on top of each other, it definitely does the trick. PatternMusic has a good selection of instruments and a surprising amount of settings you can tweak, though they're hidden away in various corners, some literal, some figurative, of the app. If you're at all serious about creating music on the iPad, you'll definitely want to invest in something more refined. But if you just want to dabble and you don't want to pay to do so, PatternMusic does the job. [iTunes]
A couple dozen instruments and the ability to easily multitrack your own patterns for free? You could do a lot worse.
Smule's Magic Piano
These are the guys who brought you Leaf Trombone, Ocarina and T-Pain's sing-along fun times, so they know music apps. Magic Piano is a little weird as a standard Piano app, because the keys are invisible by default and you have to learn the positions to make music. You can also set how many keys you want on your piano, or even have it in a circle pattern. The neat part is the pre-set songbook, where you can play along DDR-style to some pre-set music. You can make it super easy, so that as long as you manage to hit the screen with your finger instead of the desk or your own eyeball, it'll correspond to a correct note. Or go harder, so your tap placement actually matters. $3. [iTunes]
Fun music app by guys who know fun music apps.
Basically, the only thing the iPad version has over the iPhone one is the artist information. Otherwise, Pandora didn't really take advantage of the extra space to do anything cool, like display large, beautiful artwork for album covers, or stream lyrics or anything innovative. It's still Pandora so it's still useful, but for those people who were expecting to stream Pandora while doing other stuff, there's still no multitasking. Also, you can't get to your bookmarks. [iTunes]
Still good, but kinda disappointing that Pandora didn't do anything really new on the iPad.