David Lewis Talking Tech & Audio
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iPad and AI becoming a reality – FINALLY with M4 Apple silicon!

iPad was given a new lease of life last week – and two pro apps show it off

iPad and AI in action

Last week’s Let Loose event was a showcase for iPad. We’d waited an eternity for new iPads – and much like buses, it all came at once.

The stars of the Apple event last Tuesday were hardware – the M2 iPad Air now in both 11-inch and 13-inch and the M4 iPad Pros in the same sizes. An important statement was made last week though with Apple deciding to put M4 – the latest iteration of their silicon in an iPad first before using it in a Mac.

At the heart of M4 Apple silicon is a much beefed-up neural engine which has been designed to deal with the stresses that AI will place on it. At WWDC next month we’ll get an even better look at what the future of AI is for macOS, iPadOS and iOS.

For now, though, we have been given a glimpse of AI on iPad with revamped updates to Apple’s pro apps – Logic and Final Cut.

Final Cut Pro for iPad 2 and Logic Pro for iPad 2 aren’t just a light dustover – they both have some pretty major updates to them with AI being at their core. Last week, with all the news that was coming out I’d not given enough time to these two apps. Reading through the specs over the past couple of days though, the improvements are pretty substantial and are certainly worth looking at closer.

Final Cut Pro for iPad 2

When Final Cut first came to iPad last year it was met with a muted reaction.

Editors felt it was way too watered – you can’t use plug-ins, you couldn’t work on a project on both Mac and iPad and the experience was just not pro enough to make it viable. This version would appear to have addressed at least some of those issues – Apple has been listening…

Apple seems to think the direction iPad should take with Final Cut (and Logic) is to become a mobile production device. With Live Multicam and Final Cut Camera, it’s taken a step closer to making that a reality.

Apple Pencil Pro has been developed to work with it for a more intuitive & tactile workflow. It will have support for barrel roll, giving users more precise control of their chosen tool, and with squeeze, you can quickly pull up an array of brushes and settings.

M4 silicon means FCP on iPad Pro will render up to twice as fast and it’ll support up to 4x more streams of ProRes RAW than the M1 did.

If Live Multicam works as well as it was shown, then it could be a pretty powerful tool. The idea is that it will allow you to capture up to 4 angles from iPhones or iPads of a single scene via a wireless connection through Final Cut Camera.

On the iPad, the director can dial in exposure, focus, zoom, and more from each of the cameras – and all in real-time.

Final Cut Camera can be used as a standalone camera app (similar to the Blackmagic app) or in conjunction with Live Multicam. It works with both on iPhones and iPads and is a way more professional app than the native camera app.

Final Cut Camera will allow you to adjust settings like white balance and manual focus while monitoring their recordings with zebras and audio meters. Even ISO and shutter speed can now be adjusted as well. The free app isn’t available for a few weeks yet – later this spring is the official line.

With Final Cut for iPad 2, you can now edit directly from an external SSD utilising the 40Gb/s USB-C port. They’ve added some new presets for colour-grading, basic text & title overlays, and new soundtracks and backgrounds.

One massive feature that the M4 Neural Engine will allow for is the ability to isolate a subject from the background in 4K footage with a simple tap – if that works, it’ll be a huge hit!

Some improvements have been made to FCP on Mac too. New features in 10.8 include Enhance Light and Colour which offers the ability to improve colour, colour balance, contrast, and brightness in one simple step.

Logic Pro for iPad 2

This app is leaning even more heavily into AI than Final Cut.

Logic is aimed at audio creatives who are looking for beat-making, producing, mixing and songwriting. The key new features are some welcome additions to Session Player, Stem Splitter and ChromaGlow. Much as with Final Cut Apple’s goal is to make the iPad Pro an almost complete portable production studio.

Drummer has been a popular tool for producers in Logic so much so that Apple has now added Bass Player & Keyboard Player to the app to augment and enhance recording sessions with live artists. They are stressing they are not trying to replace live musicians…

Bass Player, Drummer and Keyboard have all been trained by advanced AI algorithms and sampling technologies which have listened to leading musicians. Not being a player makes it hard for me to tell you how effective these loops & tools will be – but I’m certain there’ll be plenty of feedback.

Powered by AI and M-series Apple silicon, Stem Splitter is a lightning-fast way of isolating and extracting individual tracks from a flattened music file. Stem Splitter will give you the vocal, bass, drum and selected other instruments which you can then use in remixing.

The final new AI-powered feature in this version of Logic for iPad is ChromaGlow. Choosing a modern clean sound or a more nostalgic sound music producers can now dial in a perfect tone with up top five saturation styles to add punch to a mix.

Logic Pro for iPad 2 and Logic Pro for Mac 11 are available to grab today (13th May) from the App Store.

Just the start

As I said, initially it didn’t resonate with me just how powerful these tools were and how much AI has already been used to bring these apps to life – and this is just the start.

WWDC is just around the corner and promises much more from Apple. We’ve wondered how Apple would approach AI on their devices – and now I think we are starting to see the vision.

My take from this early glimpse is that Apple will try to create AI tools that help us in real-life situations. OK – these first AI-powered apps may not be for everyone but it gives us a pretty clear marker as to the flavour of AI tools that will be coming out of Cupertino this year.

It’s a smart take too. Leave the gimmicky and fancy AI apps to Samsung and Google while Apple gives their customers fewer options but ones that make a difference in real-world use.

Siri has to be at the centre of this new AI era so I’m assuming that Apple will have been sorting out that pinch-point in preparation for WWDC and the AI onslaught – it needs to be more conversation-based. Apple has reached an agreement today to use OpenAI’s LLM on iPhone – so it’s clear then that Apple means business.

The AI gloves are about to come off – we’re in for a very interesting few months…

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