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GarageBand for iPad and Mac Not Yet Ready to Play Together

Last Thursday, while I was still dreaming about getting a new iPad 2, I discovered that Apple had already released the GarageBand app for iPad, which is also compatible with the original iPad. With $4.99 burning a hole in my credit card, I scurried to the App Store and bought myself some music-making magic for my soon-to-be-obsolete iPad.

Briefly, the app really is magic, and I can’t imagine how Apple managed to make it work on a portable device and sell it for such a low price. Naturally, it doesn’t have all the features and capabilities of its desktop sibling, but it truly is a remarkable achievement, and one of the best procrastination-enabling technologies I’ve encountered. With it, I was able to make a credible-sounding song within minutes. The only drawback was that I could find no way to do a slow fade on a song, which I needed so my amateur ditty wouldn’t end abruptly.

No problem, I thought. GarageBand on the iPad and the Mac are compatible. It says so, right in the app. So I exported the GarageBand file to my Mac and tried to open it up to apply the song-ending slow fade I wanted. And saw a disturbing dialog box.


Apparently, GarageBand on the Mac is not yet compatible with GarageBand on the iPad. What’s more, choosing GarageBand > Check for Updates in the Mac version responds that I have the latest version. A little online research revealed A Very Terse Apple Tech Note, which read, “Songs created in GarageBand for iPad can not be opened in GarageBand for Mac. Projects created in GarageBand for Mac cannot be opened in GarageBand for iPad. A future update of GarageBand for Mac will open songs created in GarageBand for iPad.” Well.

In the scheme of things, this incompatibility isn’t all that important, and I fully expect to see a GarageBand update for the Mac within days. But be warned, you early adopters out there: If you want to create a song on your iPad and edit it on your Mac, today is not that day.

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