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Will Android ever catch up to Apple in terms of music production? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 9th March 2019
  #1
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Will Android ever catch up to Apple in terms of music production?

I mess about with Caustic and G-STOMPER on my android tablet and they're fun enough,. I've not used any Apple products for a long time and although I knew Apple were the go to in terms of audio apps I've always thought the gap must have been pretty close.

How wrong was I?

I've recently got my son an old iPad Mini as a present and having played about with it for a few hours the scope, presentation, and just sheer 'professionality' of even the basic music production apps has really impressed me.

This is without delving into things, but I'm genuinely shocked at how well a 7 year old device performs.

I don't produce professionally but I enjoy it and I'm wondering if an iPad would be a good investment, or is there anything that I'm missing on Android that will even remotely stand up to Apple?
Old 9th March 2019
  #2
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There's at least three fundamental problems with the Android side of things, to my knowledge (unless they've been addressed):

1. Poor audio performance across most devices (last report I saw put the best Android phone around the level of a vintage iPhone).
2. Too many device choices creates developer hell, ie: too many wildly different spec'd devices out there to both test and optimize the app for.
3. Android users statistically aren't willing to pay for apps in the way that iOS users are....there are a few reasons for this: 1. Android apps are largely "freemium" (ad supported and or time limited) junk apps. 2. There is basically no quality control on apps in the marketplace... 3. Google is indifferent to gray market apps and blatant piracy/rooting.


In addition to the above, iPads have consistently been better sellers than Android tablets...so there are just more out there. Not to mention, a lot of iPad apps will work on iPhone, which makes for even more device compatibility/potential market for developers. I've been iOS for a long time, its pretty wild how I've purchased apps over the years, and most of them still follow me with replacement devices...and if I've bought in iPad, often it'll pop up on my iPhone as well, and perform very similarly (aside from different screen sizes).

If a developer also makes Mac OS products, it is relatively simple to port that over to iOS as well.



This isn't an Android vs Apple argument because I don't care what device anyone uses, but that is what developers are up against, and that is why music production on Android is what it is at the moment. From my perspective, there isn't a lot of incentive for a small developer with limited resources to attempt to make quality audio app for Android. Bigger developers, perhaps could justify it (if its not too niche of a product), but its still less lucrative than iOS.


As obtainable as iPads are these days...new ones aren't all that expensive and previous gen models are even cheaper and still have plenty of power for most apps...if music production is your goal I wouldn't hesitate to grab an iPad.
Old 11th March 2019
  #3
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1. Is complete nonsense, latest best Android is on par with latest iPad, unfortunately latest best android is not all android or even widely used android or even worse as cheap as iPad.
2. Too many devices has nothing to do with it at all, Android is completely abstracted.
3. Android has so man ore users in comparison to IOS that even though only a small percentage of those buy apps, the market is still as big as IOS.

IPads are not better sellers than Android, that is utter nonsense, apps on Android are on Android, doesnt matter if phone or tablet, quite a lot of apps on IOS are phone only or ipad only, if a developer also makes apps on macOS, has absolutely zero bearing at all on porting to IOS unless they specifically use a framework for cross platform for that purpose.

This isnt an IOS vs Android thing, cheap iPad (Mini 2 up) = great mobile studio, cheap Android (similarly priced) absolute crap for music.

Will they catch up, who cares, buy an iPad and make tunes.
Old 11th March 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungle View Post
1. Is complete nonsense, latest best Android is on par with latest iPad, unfortunately latest best android is not all android or even widely used android or even worse as cheap as iPad.
2. Too many devices has nothing to do with it at all, Android is completely abstracted.
3. Android has so man ore users in comparison to IOS that even though only a small percentage of those buy apps, the market is still as big as IOS.

IPads are not better sellers than Android, that is utter nonsense, apps on Android are on Android, doesnt matter if phone or tablet, quite a lot of apps on IOS are phone only or ipad only, if a developer also makes apps on macOS, has absolutely zero bearing at all on porting to IOS unless they specifically use a framework for cross platform for that purpose.

This isnt an IOS vs Android thing, cheap iPad (Mini 2 up) = great mobile studio, cheap Android (similarly priced) absolute crap for music.

Will they catch up, who cares, buy an iPad and make tunes.
Well..no, it actually is the reality of the market. Even with the size of the Android market, the vast majority of app developpers still make more money on iOS than Android. Look at the sales of any games apps for example, it's almost uniformely true, revenues are almost always tilted towards iOS with something like 70% iOS / 30% Android.
Because of that , many smaller developpers prefer to support only iOS until they have the resources to also support Android.
Even Steinberg, a big developper, decided to drop Android recently :
Steinberg Discontinues Cubase iC Pro For Android

Despite Android's growing market share, Apple users continue to spend twice as much money on apps as Android users
Apple’s App Store revenue nearly double that of Google Play in first half of 2018 – TechCrunch

Developpers are not complete idiots, there is a reason and a logic to the disparity between iOS and Android when it comes to availability of audio apps. Low support for audio, bigger fragmentation of screen sizes ratios ( big problem when designing UIs, although it is starting to become a problem on iOS too with the multiplication of various ratios among the recent iOS devices), bigger expectation of free apps , etc...

Why Mobile Low-Latency is Hard, Explained by Google; Galaxy Nexus Still Musicians' Android of Choice - CDM Create Digital Music

Outside of audio apps, if you go to any developper forums, the biggest complains they have for both Android and iOS are almost always :
-Android : Fragmentation of screen ratios sizes / Fragmentation of the various Android versions ( compared to iOS where almost 70% of all devices are upgraded to the latest OS in less than a year) among users / Very few people willing to pay for apps compared to iOS owners

-iOS : Far more strict reinforcement of rules by Apple and less flexibility in the way apps can access hardware / less flexibility in how to sell your app /

Last edited by spaceman; 11th March 2019 at 05:02 PM..
Old 11th March 2019
  #5
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Most developers only develop for the iPad, then the iPhone. If the iPhone. Some develop for Universal. The majority of people spending money on music apps are iPad owners or people that get iPads to do music. Even people with iPhones are generally "second class". Given that, I don't see much hope any time soon or even years out, where Android would compete in this market. Last but not least, even the market for people spending money on the iPad is tiny - the profits of the most successful indie music devs are pretty small so they have to do it as a hobby instead of a job.
Old 12th March 2019
  #6
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I don't see Android catching up without serious missteps by apple (which isn't out of the question.)
Old 12th March 2019
  #7
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Hi,

I noticed that this is a 2 years old thread. However, for pro-audio I'm using a Linux PC, as well as an iPad Pro 12.9-inch 3rd generation and I even used an iPad 2.
While Linux supports real-time audio, non of the Linux based operating systems does. IOW if there should be tablet computer hardware available, as powerful as an iPad Pro, or even more powerful than an iPad Pro, Android still couldn't be reasonably used for pro-audio.

Regards,
Ralf
Old 12th March 2019
  #8
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Almy's Avatar
I have live performance software on my iPad that still doesn't develop for Android because the Android platform simply doesn't have some of the necessary options available. Well other reasons too, but for them there's no point in delving into other challenges when in the end they couldn't offer what their product currently does even if they wanted.

I don't know if the powers that be at Android are even interested in more advanced audio stuff. Me personally, I prefer competition. And I believe there is room in the market for several competitors. It never had to be Apple vs MS, and it doesn't have to be iOS vs Android. Although admittedly that old school PC analogy isn't quite apples to apples with mobile due to all kinds of different things like OS fragmentation, screen size compatibility, et cetera.
Old 12th March 2019
  #9
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Development of the mobile OS Android and Chrome OS ignore real-time audio needs. Since I'm a Linux pro-audio user, I lurked a lot of discussions about this issue. AFAIK there is absolutely no interest in pro-audio by Google or who ever quasi owns Android. Btw. Linux itself is real-time audio capable, but since Linux is community-driven and not business-oriented, there is not that much diversity in usable pro-audio software for Linux, as there is for proprietary operating systems. I suspect Android would be more interesting for many proprietary pro-audio developers, than Linux, if it would be as real-time capable as Linux is.

I don't ask myself, if Android is less good than Apple or if this is better than that. An example, there are software guitar to MIDI converters of different quality available, free as in beer open source software, as well as proprietary software. It's said using this software even polyphony works using an ordinary guitar pickup.
Will this software ever catch up with a Roland hexa phonic pickup and guitar synth used as MIDI converter?
To get things done I used a keyboard when I couldn't pay for a Roland setup. Nowadays I own such a Roland setup.

IMO 2 or 3 years ago and nowadays the only alternative to an Apple tablet for pro-audio, is not using a tablet computer at all.

As long as somebody has got only bearable ethically concerns against the vendor of a tool and the money to pay for the tool should be in place, I recommend to get the tool instead of waiting that e.g. a screwdriver could be used as a toaster, too.
Old 12th March 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manalishi View Post
IMHO, most iPad owners are wishing for a decent competitor running Android!
At least I would like to see a competitor, not necessarily running Android.

I just noticed that the thread started 2 days ago. I confused the dates when the users joined the forum with the dates of the posts *chuckle*.
Old 12th March 2019
  #11
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manalishi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxaudio View Post
Btw. Linux itself is real-time audio capable, but since Linux is community-driven and not business-oriented, there is not that much diversity in usable pro-audio software for Linux, as there is for proprietary operating systems.
There's at least one real-time Linux system that definitely works for pro audio work - the Korg Kronos. There was at least one hacker that got through Korg's protection to tweak and improve a few bits of its performance.

However, I don't think that Korg has the will to keep developing that platform.
Old 12th March 2019
  #12
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For me it was a carefully considered process of decision to buy an iPadPro.

I'm using an iPadPro for almost everything, excepted of mastering.

For mastering I need speakers, at least one large display and a software mixer and/or analog mixing console that provides sub groups. This isn't the domain of an iPad. I'm doing this kind of audio work with a Linux tower PC, after importing wav files from the iPad.

I already hinted at drawing. I'm not only a musician, I'm also an illustrator. Make an educated guess! Maybe it's possible to do something with an 12.9-inch iPad and the Apple Pencil 2nd gen that requires additional equipment when using a laptop or tower PC. Actually the iPad is a graphic tablet with a build in screen.

For me the iPadPro is a tool that is able to replace a lot of other equipment, even stuff such as a real analog Oberheim and other excellent stand-alone gear I still own. To do this, the machine needs a lot of DSP power. This is the iPadPro 3rd gen processor: Apple A12X - Wikipedia

I never reached the performance limit of the iPadPro.
Old 12th March 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manalishi View Post
There's at least one real-time Linux system that definitely works for pro audio work - the Korg Kronos.
There are way more Linux based systems of that kind available, it's just that Android and Chrome OS don't belong to that Linux based systems.
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