The old iMaschine was a great tool for the times but it was very much, as NI described it, “a sketchpad.” The new app is aimed primarily at graduating the sketchpad into a full-blown music production solution for your iPhone or iPad.
In particular, this means introducing tools that allow you to make entire songs. Probably the most immediatey noticeable addition is the new “step mode” which transitions the pad grid into a step sequencer—so if you suck at drumming or find it hard to do on a tiny screen, you can program the sounds, just like you would on classic beat box.
While we’re on the topic of pads and the step sequencer, Native Instruments added a nice 3D touch shortcut for people using the iPhone 6s. The shortcut allows you to simply 3D touch a particular pad in order to view the Step Mode grid for that pad. This saves you about two taps—and if you’re arranging a whole beat, it could easily save you hundreds of taps in just a few minutes. It’s slick:
The new app also has an Arranger mode which allows you to turn your basic loop into a whole song by introducing the ability to save four patterns in four different groups. So now you can actually write different parts for a song.
Finally, the new app now has what NI calls a Smart Play keyboard, which makes it easier to play keys in on a tiny keyboard with auto-forming chords and the ability to lock the scale so you can’t play out of key.
The new app will be available at an introductory price of £3.99.