If you own an iPad you've absolutely got to purchase the GarageBand app. It's the best $4.99 you'll spend this week. I don't care if you've never played a musical instrument in your life. You need this app.
Why am I so fascinated by GarageBand? FIrst off, it's a blast to play with. You'll be amazed at how good your creations sound and how far your talents can take you even if you can't tell a quarter note from a half note. Next, I'm finding it to be an incredibly inspiring experience.
Think about how hard it's been over the years to compose music, even something simple. In the pre-computer days you had to write it all down on blank sheet music. Composers painstakingly wrote every note for every instrument. Now a tool like GarageBand not only lets you record the virtual instruments you play on-screen but it also provides an enormous amount of guidance, helping you sound a lot better than you really are.
What I love most about GarageBand is that it encourages experimentation and discovery. How will that rock guitar sound with this drumbeat? What if I overlay this bass line with that series of chords?
Now put this in terms of authoring tools. Most ebooks you read today began life as a manuscript written in a word processor. Sure, we're starting to add bits of video and audio now that mobile devices (including tablets) are quickly gaining popularity. But I feel like our authoring tools in general are still stuck in the stone age. For the most part, we're stuck in place using the existing tools, most of which haven't evolved much in the past 10-15 years, while trying to create something richer and more interesting.
What if we had a content authoring platform as elegant and engaging as GarageBand? Experienced authors would find new ways to tell their stories, share their how-to knowledge, etc. But one of the great things about GarageBand is that it's a great enabler for non-musicians. What about all those people out there who have never written their story, shared their knowledge, etc.? Would a new, powerful authoring platform like this encourage them to explore, experiment and come up with new types of content than we ever imagined before? I think so.