Lead guitarists looking for a Band in a Box-like app for the iPhone or iPod Touch need to check out JamSession at Apple’s App Store. This simple to use app uses samples of live instruments playing in different styles and keys giving the soloist ample room to try out different melodies and techniques.
Developed by Jerrybeers.com, JamSession is an easy way for musicians to get a backing band without having to pay union fees or to get into loop writing, like when using the iPhone’s excellent BeatMaker app.
JamSession for the iPhone and iPod Touch Features
Audio Samples of a Backing Band
Three Different Backing Instruments (Drums, Bass, Rhythm Guitar)
Easy Interface Allows Toggling On/Off of Each Instrument
Backing Tracks Feature Different Styles/Keys
New Backing Tracks Available Through In-App Download
Band in a Box for the iPhone?
JamSession is an incredibly easy to use app. Upon first starting it, the user can either choose a track from their existing playlist, download a new backing track, or begin jamming by hitting the play button.
When a backing track is playing, the graphics show all three backing musicians each highlighted by a spotlight. To toggle off the instrument, the user simply taps on the respective musician and they stop playing and their spot darkens. Another tap turns that instrument back on.
The user can pause the playback by tapping the pause button which then resets the interface to the initial view allowing either a resumption of the backing track or the selection of a new one. Displaying the name of the current backing track would be a useful addition to the playback screen.
A Backing Band with Different Styles
JamSession comes with three rock-focused backing tracks in its initial download. There are also over 10 other tracks available for download from within the app. The stylistic breadth of the available downloads is large, ranging from various country tracks to even reggae.
A useful enhancement to the app would be functionality to allow the transposition of each track into different keys. This is especially useful in solo practicing for a guitarist. While the three initial tracks aren’t labeled by key, most of the downloadable tracks have their keys listed.
The iPhone’s lack of multitasking hampers the ability to use JamSession simultaneously with other apps. Imagine using Pocket Guitar or NLog to jam along with JamSession! Still, this is a great app for a non-virtual guitarist or even any soloist to use for practicing.
Computer Programming for the iPhone and the iPad
The popularity of Apple’s iPhone and its elegant interface and innovative multi-touch screen has led to a paradigm shift in software development. The relevance of desktop applications has waned throughout the last decade, and with more and more people surfing the web on mobile devices, even web development has changed to meet the needs of the mobile browser.
The world of mobile programming will soon be dominated by three major development platforms. Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, Google’s Android, and of course Apple’s Cocoa Touch, which is the application framework for their iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices. This article focuses on which steps to take to become an iPhone and iPad Developer.
Four Steps to Becoming an iPhone and iPad Programmer
Buy a Mac. Even though third-party software makes it possible to develop in both Java (Javaground’s UniWar is an example of a multi-platform mobile app ported to the iPhone) and C# (Novell’s MonoTouch runtime) and port those apps to the iPhone platform, for the best performance, development should happen on a Mac, be written in Apple’s Objective-C language, and directly target the Cocoa Touch framework.
Join Apple’s iPhone Development Program. For the yearly price of $99 ($299 for Enterprise Developers), programmers get the iPhone SDK, Xcode (Apple’s IDE), various tools for profiling mobile apps, and a interface designer. There is also a robust amount of online tutorial videos and documentation along with an active forum well-supported by Apple’s engineers.
Write and Test, Write and Test. Xcode provides a robust development environment for writing Objective-C code for the iPhone. It also provides instrumentation and profiling tools to track real-time application performance info. It is also possible to test the app over WiFi to get a proper feel for performance in the real world.
Sell it at the App Store. The App Store is arguably the most innovative part of the iPhone development experience. Apple allows developers to set their own price for an app and takes 30% of the sale price as their cut; they take zero if the app is free. Members of the Enterprise Development program can deploy their app to any authorized user in their company. Finally, through Ad Hoc distribution, it is possible to deploy an app through email to up to 100 users, which is perfect to test out a new app among friends and family before releasing it on the App Store.
Apple makes it easy for developers to both learn iPhone and iPad Development and to sell their programs at the App Store. Comparing the $99 price for their iPhone Development program against Microsoft’s prices for their Visual Studio IDE (the Professional Edition starts around $800) and considering the coolness factor of the iPhone and iPad, it’s no surprise that more and more developers are moving away from Redmond and moving towards Cupertino.
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