Other notable iOS apps on sale currently

I will keep updating this post with apps that I find in sale over the next week. Only apps that I actually use and find useful in teaching or in my own free time/exploration will go here though!

Launch Center Pro Launch Center Pro (Want to save some taps while getting stuff done on your iPhone?) $2.99 (Down from $4.99)

tweetbot3 iphoneTweetbot3 for iPhone $1.99 (60% off)

vesperVesper (Note Taking elegance and simplicity) $1.99 (40% off)

DayOne DayOne Journal/Diary (The best I’ve found yet! The only one I use now!) $2.99 (Down from $4.99)

Calendars 5 Calendars 5 from Readdle (The calendar app with natural language input – This is now my calendar app on my iPad and iPhone!) $2.99 (down from $6.99)

Inspire Pro Inspire Pro (Amazing painting app) FREE

Disclaimer – Help support my efforts in sharing with you apps and techniques that work in the classroom.
All app links here affiliate links. If you buy the app after clicking my link that simply means that I get a small percentage out of Apple’s profits while the developer gets their full percentage as normal. All of these apps are also apps that I purchased – none are apps that I received promo codes for.

iPad Music Apps on sale right now! (Updated Again!)

Updated once at 2:47PM EDST – then again at 6:43PM EDST

For those of you wanting to get your feet wet in creating music on your iPads, this is the time to make a few purchases! These apps are currently on sale! Get them now because all of these are amazing and these prices represent a significant drop in cost! These are al apps that cost more than most people spend unless they are actually interested in what is offered. The price point of these apps are, at the same time, considerably cheaper than such an app would cost on a regular computer. Considering that many of these emulate a piece of hardware the difference in price becomes an even greater bargain!

For those who want some great synth sounds:
Animoog Animoog – $4.99 (On sale from $29.99) – If you do not have this app you need to get it NOW!
Animoog Animoog for iPhone – $1.99 (On sale from $9.99)
Filtatron Filtaron $0.99 (On sale from $7.99)
iMini iMini $4.99 (On sale from $9.99)
iSEM Arturia iSEM $4.99 (On sale from $9.99)
Magellan Magellan $6.99 (On sale from $14)
Sunrizer iconSunrizer Synth – $5 (On sale from $10)
Sunrizer iconSunrizer XS – 
Chordion Chordion – $0.99 (On Sale from $3.99)

For those who are interested in DJ app’s
TraktorDJ Traktor DJ – $9.99 (On sale from $19.99)
TraktorDJ Traktor DJ for iPhone – $1.99 (On sale from $4.99)

DAW – Digital Audio Workstation sort of app
MeteorMultitrackRecorder Meteor MultiTrack Recorder- $9.99 (On sale from $19.99) – A great entry price point into the world of iPad DAW apps!
Synergy Synergy Studio $9.99 (On sale from $19.99)
Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.38.29 AM BeatMaker2 $4.99 (On sale from $19.99)

For the Guitar players
TabToolkit TabToolkit $0.99 (On sale from $3.99)
Bias BIAS-Amps $14.99 (On sale from $19.99)
JamUpPro JamUp Pro XT $9.99 (On sale from $19.99)
AmpKit AmpKit+ $8.99 (On sale from $19.99)

For the drummer in all of us
ImpaktorImpaktor – $1 – (80% off!)
Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.38.29 AM BeatMaker2 $4.99 (On sale from $19.99)

GlitchBreaks GlitchBreaks $2.99 (On sale from $4.99)
iMaschine iMaschine for iPhone $1.99 (On sale from $4.99)

For the Live8 Users
LiveRemoteLiveRemote $6.99 (On sale from $9.99)

For Music Teachers
Moosic Studio iconMoosic Studio -$20 off right now!

NOT iPad/iPhone APPS
Presonus has 50% off their Studio One DAW, Notion4 software app, and Progression 2 software for writing tabs/notation!
Notion has a great iPad version of their notation app that works hand in hand with the desktop version. At this price Notion is a ridiculous low price of $49.50! That is even a lower price than you can cross upgrade for from Sibelius of Finale!

A Great Calendar App for Teachers with iPads (plus it’s on sale right now!)

Calendars 5LogoAs a Band Director I am constantly dealing with my calendar app on my iPad, iPhone, and laptop! Thank goodness for those alerts!

I have bought many apps to deal with this mess and confusion of all the dates, times, meetings and performances. I have also bought many To-Do apps as well! I’ve liked some of the apps! Then Apple went ahead and “made me buy” an iPhone 4s! Who could resist – it had SIRI! Now I could talk to my phone and have it create reminders for me! That meant I all but stopped using any other app besides Reminders for my To-Do’s! Now don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think that app is currently a great looking app at all but it is so easy to whip out my phone and talk! iOS7 updates make Reminders look a bit better though! In the past half of a year though I have added WunderList to my constantly used apps! The benefit of being able to share lists with others is outstanding in WunderList plus that app is quick!

BUT tonight I want to talk about my new calendar app! Readdle has released a great looking and very functional updated app called Calendars 5! Currently it is on sale too for $4.99 – go get it now before the price goes up!

Why do I like this app? Let’s dig in….

  1. There are two apps here – one for the iPhone and another for the iPad. They are designed for that specific device! I love Fantastical but there is not an iPad version for that app. I like using the same app on both devices.
  2. The layout is simple, clean and easy to look at. It looks great on the iPhone and even better on the iPad – This app is made for the larger screen.
  3. The layout is easy to figure out!
  4. I can type in new events/meetings/etc. with normal everyday language and Calendars 5 makes sense of it!
  5. It integrates with Apples Reminders App! (Which means I can still use SIRI to dictate to but it will show up in this app!)
  6. It syncs and integrates with Google!
  7. I can set up great reminder alert sounds! (way better than Apples!)
  8. The recurring events capability is awesome! (Apple wont even let me do this on the iPad, beyond very basic repeats – I have to use my laptop!)
  9. There is a powerful, built in To Do/Taks section to the app! (Still gonna use WunderList though as well. I MUST BE ABLE to send my students things to-do using their shared lists!)
  10. The sync between my iPad and iPhone is seamless and just plain works.

Now I just have to figure out the best way to get my lesson plans from PlanBook, into my calendar then synced to the web so my principal can find it consistently. Then I will not have to print it and needlessly create extra work for myself!

Amazing Audio Tech

Have you seen Shazam? If you haven’t here’s the short version…. Have you been listening to a song and so wondered what it was? Load up Shazam, tap the tag button, let the app listen and within about 15 seconds Shazam tells you what the song is along with who the artist is. The part that amazes me is the Lyric Play tech built in. On many songs there is a Luric Play button when pressed will find lyrics for you. Then those lyrics start scrolling along in sync with the song while it is playing. All this happens I’m the palm of my hand! I can not believe the mic in my phone handles this. Even in a noisy car driving down the noisy road it works!

Obviously this works better with popular songs but the fact that the audio can be tagged liked this is astounding! Reminds me of the day I realized that my computer would actually remember the names of all the tracks on a cd! Of course I had to type all that info in back in those days!

Back to the original thought though, is anyone using this tech in your lesson plans?

iPad and Music Recording Apps (Audio and MIDI)

So I have been checking out apps that I can record audio and MIDI with on my iPad – here are some of my observations…

First of all there are several major features that are involved in looking at these DAW’s – 1)Recording of Audio – both from the obvious external source like a mic, guitar, wind instrument, etc… but also through the integration of AudioBus that allows recording of audio from other apps. 2)Recording of MIDI – both virtual MIDI as well as being able to access external MIDI equipment 3)Built-in synths, drum machines and sounds or loops.

With AudioBus integration the need for “everything” being built into one app starts to go away. NanoStudio, for instance, has a huge user base because it has allowed people to create some amazing recordings all in one app – go search SoundCloud. You don’t have to go purchase additional hardware synths, audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces or mics and you don’t need the additional purchase of synth apps or FX apps!

With AudioBus enabled apps though I can now use any app to record into another app. This allows the developers of Auria, for instance, to focus on creating an awesome app for recording audio while other developers focus their attention on creating really cool synth apps or drum machines for instance. I’m not so sure that the all in one is the HUGE benefit it was just a short few months ago (like November of 2012 – 3 months ago)

GarageBand Logo  GarageBand was the first obvious purchase –

  • PROS
  • So many very cool instruments built in
  • Capable of recording audio
  • Capable of using external MIDI keyboard to control internal sounds
  • Smart Instruments – go read their description and watch the video – very very cool, especially for elementary kids, middle school kids and those without the musical training needed to play the parts themselves!
  • Jam Sessions! Jam three friends (4 total people) over wi-fi or blue-tooth. How much fun would THIS be in a classroom setting! This is THE REAL GARAGEBAND FEELING!
  • Now has AudioBus integration! (This is huge for AudioBus for Apple to throw their support behind AudioBus!)
  • Has iPhone version and Desktop Versions
  • CONS
  • Will not play external MIDI keyboards!

MultiTrack Logo   MultiTrack DAW – my second purchase because of recommendations of friends on the internet! I LOVE people who share!

  • PROS
  • Great abilities when recording audio – 8 tracks of stereo upgradable to 24
  • per track compressor and EQ – also has delay and reverb built-in
  • Very simple to understand
  • AudioBus integration (one of the first DAW to do so!)
  • Will record up to 8 tracks of audio at once
  • CONS
  • No MIDI at all

MusicStudio Logo   MusicStudio – my third purchase – again because of friends on Twitter. There is a massive sea of apps out there – ask around to see what others are using and what is working well for them!

  • PROS
  • Records audio and MIDI both! (Yea!)
  • Records up to 24 tracks of audio at once!
  • AudioBus integration (just updated in March 2013?)
  • 127 track sequencer!
  • Instruments built-in
  • Has Effects built in – a bit limited though (read below)
  • Has iPhone version plus an LE version for free
  • CONS
  • Very disappointed to find out that there is no way to control the input level when recording audio! (At least I can’t find it yet!) As I am a Band Director this is a pretty vital feature!
  • Built-in Effects are somewhat limited. These are more of a global effects unit – you can have basically two effects groups – one for all the tracks or one that is on a separate bus or of course you can have tracks without effects at all. It is not a track by track basis by any means!

Meteor MultiTrack Logo    Meteor Multitrack Recorder – make sure you have at least 1 GB of free space available when using this app. The app itself takes only about 200mb but it requires more while running! You should also close all other apps to free up space. In fact, while using these audio related apps I have found this to be essential in having a successful session – no audio stuttering or apps quitting.

  • PROS
  • Records audio
  • Records MIDI
  • AudioBus integration (just updated in March 2013?)
  • 16 tracks of audio – upgradable to 24
  • CONS
  • Only records a stereo input?
  • Charges extra for the MIDI editor – Really? Come on people, if I am going to buy your app it is probably in part because of the ability to record MIDI! If I am recording MIDI then editing it is a basic function!

Auria Logo    Auria – This app is by far the one that seems the most professional – the one that seems the most like a professional recording studio full of effects, EQ’s and capabilities. This app has astounded people time and time again!

Have not purchased this one – I mean geesh – it’s $50! (There is a $25 version as well though if you want to get your feet wet here and try this out) Ouch! Don’t get me wrong… I am sure it is worth it but I am looking for something that I can use with my students on multiple iPads in the band room. $50 starts adding up really fast! Of course software for the desktop that does what this app is capable of would cost 3 to 5 times as much! Plus many of the plug-ins for Auria are 3 to 4 times cheaper for the iPad then they are for desktop versions!

  • PROS
  • From everything I can see this app is amazing in it’s ability to record audio
  • Records up to 24 tracks of audio at once! Plays back up to 48 tracks of audio at once!
  • Lots of plug-ins available as in-app-purchases (watch your kids! We don’t want any $2,500 bills here now people!)
  • CONS
  • Only does audio – no MIDI
  • I’ve read that this app is operated very much like a desktop app in that there are a lot of menus, clicking and such. Not enough use is made of the touch screen interface (just what I’ve read – not from personal use)

Cubasis Logo    Cubasis – This is from Steinberg. Have not purchased this one either for the same reason – it’s $50! Again… I’m sure it is worth it and the longer I look around for a cheaper option I think I might just have to go this route and pay the money! I am very intrigued by this company as this is now where many of the developers of Sibelius work now, after Avid went through their restructuring. I am holding high hopes for some amazing new technologies to come together in the form of Cubasis and a new notation program from the same company.

  • PROS
  • Records audio and MIDI
  • AudioBus integration
  • Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks!
  • Will record up to 24 tracks of audio at once!
  • Has a desktop version!
  • CONS
  • Price
  • No iPhone app

FL Studio Logo    FL Studio Mobile HD

  • PROS
  • Record up to 8 tracks of audio at once
  • MIDI recording
  • Compatible with the PC Desktop version (In fact, if you use the desktop version you should buy the iPad version as well!)
  • Has a Desktop Version and iPhone version
  • CONS
  • User interface issues looks much like they just doubled an iPod screen
  • Effects only on the Main bus (working on a fix – 3-15-2013)

NanoStudio Logo    Nano-Studio – This app has been around for a long time (in iPad years anyways) and has a huge user base built up!

  • PROS
  • Some great internal synths/sounds
  • Desktop versions
  • Great built-in effects
  • Has iPhone version
  • CONS
  • No audio recording (does have a sampler though)
  • No MIDI
  • No AudioBus integration
  • Only 6 Simultaneous instruments unless you pay more $ for and in app purchase to get to 16

StudioHD Logog    Studio.HD – Not very familiar with this as it seems to be focused on using loops. For those that are into that though this could be a great choice. I would suggest the video they have on their web-site – it is very well done and highlights some exciting thing this app can do with ease! This developer has quite a few apps out there which tells me that he is not going away any time soon.

  • PROS
  • 24 Tracks of audio
  • Lots of effects built in – 14 total – 4 per track? plus master effects as well
  • You can record automation of items like volume, pan, effects settings
  • Can record multiple takes per track
  • 900 loops plus more as in-app-purchases
  • Has an iPhone app based off the same concept Studio.M (4 tracks of audio up to 8 tracks with iap)- not sure how compatible they are though
  • CONS
  • Lots of in-app-purchases (Although these feel more like things that are actually add-ons vs some apps where these in-app-purchases should have been included in the first place!)
  • No AudioBus integration
  • No MIDI


BeatMaker2 Logo   BeatMaker2 – (Read comment from Greg below)

In looking at all these other apps I have also ran across these Multi-Track audio recording apps –

n-Track Studio MultiTrack Recorder

If you have thoughts please let me know! Which is your favorite and why? Which of these do you own? What have you found to be huge benefits and drawbacks of these apps! Are there features you would like me to add to the list so you can compare the apps to each other?

I will keep updating this and will tweet at anytime I do post an update to the list.

DrumJam has been released!

DrumJam, a whole new world of serious percussive fun, has been released! Plus it is on 50% sale for a little while so get it now. This is from the same people who brought us the ThumbJam App.

I’ve been seeing this app around YouTube and in blogs I read – It looks like a load of fun. It is currently downloading right now so I will write more later but I thought you all might be interested in a little distraction during these first few days of school for many of us.


By the way it is taking a while to download so either this is a big download or Apple is getting slammed on this particular app. It is a universal app.

Apps for Journaling, Keeping track of your memories…

I’ve never liked keeping a Diary, I really hated keeping a Journal while in college and I’ve never been good about keeping track of events in school that I might need notes on later. Now that I am older though I wish I would have actually kept that journal from my college days – the one with where I’d traveled to, places I ‘d visited and my thoughts on my life then. I think it might be a good idea to keep notes on interactions with students/parents throughout the school year. How is a good way to do this though? How do I keep my professional life separate from my personal life without driving myself crazy.

I want to list a few apps that are possible solutions to this… I also want to list some differences between all of these that I have found…

EveryDay.me  is a new iPhone app/website that has decided to throw it’s hat into a very crowded sea of possibilities. This app is meant to be just for you. It’s a personal app allowing you to write about your day, let’s you keep photos, videos, and even those little face’s saying you were happy or sad or whatever. All of this is only for you. It is all a private record of your life experiences. Right now users can link Facebook/Instagram and Twitter to their timelines. Posts to those services will be automatically pulled into your EverydayMe. You can also email a post to EverydayMe – use the same email account as your EverydayMe account and send an email to post@everyday.me which can be useful if your iPhone is not useable at the moment.

The web site Everydayme.com allows you to only view your entries and change a few settings. The web site is not meant to create entries.

The next release will allow Foursquare, Tumblr, FitBit and Nike+ integration. This daily record of your daily life is available online and of an iPhone app. Android and other mobile apps are supposedly in the works, as are printed “quarterly and annual reports” with highlights and statistics.

EverydayMe is meant to be only for you to keep track of what is going on in your life.

Path is another iPhone app (also Android) that allows you to create a timeline of your daily experiences that is shareable by up to 150 people. It is meant to be very personal still in that your timeline is not searchable online, in fact you can not even view your timeline on the web! The website allows you to adjust settings for your profile but that is it! Your default profile is set to Private.

Path allows you to check in to a location, post your thoughts of the day, post pictures or videos, share who you are with and while creating a Path entry you can also post to Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and Tumblr.

Path allows you to interact with your other friends. It also has options to indicate when you go to bed and wake up.

Path draws my attention because I do like sharing my social life with other – just not as many people as I would if I was using FaceBook. Path is much easier to control the privacy from as well. Path is a beautiful app to use, browse through your past history and it is the app I compare all others to for pure aesthetic beauty! I really am anxious for Path Developers to create an iPad version as well as allowing people to view my timeline form a web browser, IF I give the link to them of course!

Of course Path is not someplace where you should be posting about the latest problem you had at school with Johnny! These next apps are possible choices for that sort of instance though…. These apps are personal journals/diarys.

First up is another iPhone app – Momento – a quick and easy way to write about what is going on in your life. It is quick to write a post, insert a photo to go along with that post, tag it with the people involved, attach a location and even tag events or create other custom tags that are later searchable. What drew me to this app the first time was that Momento also brings in many of the social feeds you may already be generating on a daily basis. So as I post to Twitter those posts are sucked into Momento. There are a ton of these social integrations in Momento – Here is a section from their website. If you use social media and want many of those feeds integrated into your diary then this app may work well for you! The only thing to be aware of though is that this app brings IN social media feeds but it does not SEND OUT. In other words, if you want to tweet then don’t try doing it from Momento or if you want to check into FourSquare then use the FourSquare app!

This is the last app I am including in this post. I thought I would be very remiss if I did not include one app that was made for the iPad though. I tend to write my experiences from my iPhone because it allows me to include pictures that are better quality that are also GPS embedded. But if you are like me then you want apps that are made for iPhone, iPad and even having a desktop/laptop version of the software is a huge bonus!

I have not used this app but am thinking about trying it out because of the fact that mentioned above!

Day One is a journaling app that allows you to write your post, include a picture along with the weather and even lookup your location using the FourSquare API. You can share your entries via email, Twitter, Messages and Flickr as well as creating a FourSquare checkin. I wish it would also tie into Tumblr, FaceBook and Google+

This is the app that reminds me the most of an old fashioned journal with a good twist of modern included. It looks like it would be a great looking app. This would also be the best spot I think to keep track of daily interactions between students, parents and other school related activities. I don’t think though that there is a good way to keep all your school stuff separate from your personal activities.

I am sure there are even better ways to keep track of your daily life vs your school teaching life. Leave me comments below please about which apps you are using to fill this slot.

AirDisplay App Thoughts and MobileMouse Pro

I have seen an app called AirDisplay, read reviews about it and thought about the app for a long time now. I have always thought that it was an interesting concept but never could convince myself to try it out. The app has been pretty steady in price, about ten dollars. This past week I finally gave it a go. So let me tell you my thoughts….

First of all, let me fill your in on the app purpose. The purpose of this app is to give your computer a second display. That display can be your iPad, iPhone, a Mac or a PC. It really is pretty slick. If you are not used to running two monitors it does take some getting used to the idea of what is going on. In other words, I could use my iPad as the second display. Then I could have my laptop showing a report I am working on and my iPad running preview showing a PDF that I am taking information from. Maybe you want to keep an iChat window up on your iPad or iTunes while you create a keynote for your next days class. Maybe you want to run Sibelius and put all the little tool bars over on your iPad so you can have the entire laptop screen for the music.

This last situation is what caught my attention as being possibly useful to me. It has always annoyed me that my laptop does not have a number pad when I work in Sibelius. So figured that maybe I could just put the keypad over on my iPad and touch whatever note value I wanted. AirDisplay does support touch.20120702-232913.jpg

Does it work? It actually does work very well, kind of. The iPad and laptop work well together. I can drag my keypad to my iPad and use touch to control the note values. There is not that much of a lag when working on the iPad at all. The problem is that my fingers are WAY to fat! There is. No way to change the size of the keypad and there is no way to change the resolution on the iPad. I thought that maybe when I used the iPhone the keypad would fill the screen more. I was wrong, the keypad was WAY smaller on the iPhone! I can of course use the mouse and click on the keypad and it all works great but my purpose is to keep my hands off the mouse to work faster.


The app does exactly what it says it will do. If you want a second display for your computer then this app would work really well! Plus it would save y from filling your desk like you see in the picture below! Just beware of what size things will be on the iPad and especially the iPhone!

I should offer an alternative to this situation though. I do have an alternative that works very well so it would not be fair to not share would it? 🙂

I have been using an app called MobileMouse Pro ever since I only had an iPod Touch, no iPad or iPhone. This app works wonderfully! It is a remote control for your mouse and your computer. It has several different ways you can set it up to be useful. I have it loaded on my iPhone and use it in the same situation as I mentioned above while using Sibelius. I simply pull up the number pad mode in the MobileMouse app and I am all set. Now I can select the note values using my phone and type in notes with my other hand. The app also has modes to control your cursor, just drag the cursor around with your thumb or use the accelerometer for a really fun time! You tip the phone to the right and the mouse goes to the right, tip the phone down and the cursor goes lower…. There are also ways to set up specific hotkeys for specific apps. I have a SmartMusic setting where I can start SmartMusic, stop it, change songs, turn the metronome on and off, turn the accompaniment on or off and other things just by tapping a button in MobileMouse. I would highly suggest MobileMouse! In fact I should do a post on it soon!

If any of you have used AirDisplay and have found a great way to incorporate it into your workflow I would love to know what you are doing! Leave a comment!

AirPlay and AirFoil

So the other day I was cleaning up around the Band Room trying to get everything packed up for the summer. The trouble was it was too quiet. I needed music! So I grabbed my iPad and hooked it up to the speakers, hit play and turned it up – I mean come on, there were no kids around and I needed inspiration! About five minutes later another teacher walked into the room. Of course I had to walk over to the iPad and turn it down so we could carry on a conversation without yelling at each other. That teacher left, I hit play and continued on to work. A half an album later and I thought about listening to The Brass Band of Battle Creek! So I trekked over to the iPad, did a few flicks of the finger and turned on some great Brass music!

After work I was sitting downstairs at my laptop and my Son, from across the room asked if I had heard the new 12 Stones album that he had just purchased. Of course he was way more up to date than I was and I had not heard it. So he hurriedly came over to share the new album with me since it was not loaded up on my computer.

After all that I got to thinking about how much easier it would have been while at school if I could have been controlling the music I was working to with my iPhone, it was right there in my pocket the entire day! I could have started, stopped, turned it down, picked new music and I’m sure it would have made a great impression on others who just happened to walk into my room! Or what if my Son could have just simply stayed where he was and hit play on his iPad and I could have heard the new music on my iPad/iPhone/Computer?

At first you might be thinking – Get an AirPort Express! Well, to an extent you would be offering a great solution. The problem is that at school an AirPort Express doesn’t work – I tried! Your next thought may be – Use the Reflection or AirServer Apps to play music through to your classroom computer which is hooked up to the sound system. I would have – but I had the computer and sound system tore apart to pack it all up for the summer.

Of course I wouldn’t be writing about all this if I had not found a solution. I have known about Airfoil and Airfoil Speakersfrom Rogue Amoeba for a while now. I like what it does… It allows you to play music from your computer to a number of different devices all around wherever you may be. But I have never really used the app because I just have not wanted to send audio FROM a computer to my iPad or iPhone. I do constantly want to send audio and other items the other direction though as mentioned in the scenario above. A while back the Airfoil Speakers App was updated in the iTunes Store and this time the update information caught my eyes. The update included the ability to transmit audio from any iOS device to another iOS device! The app did not stay in the store long though. Apple yanked the app because of that ability to play from iOS to iOS. Rogue Amoeba had a difficult time getting Apple to work with them though. Just the other day AirFoil Speakers app was admitted back to the Apple Store again, without the ability to play from iOS to iOS though. Read more about it here on CultofMac. Rogue Amoeba had to take that capability out of their app. Bummer!

Rogue Amoeba has an article on their website about one work around. Kind of what I wanted but not as easy as I hoped.

Then today I found a nice article from 9To5 Mac about how to get this functionality back, without having to jailbreak your device. It appears that, as of now, all you have to do is download iExplorer from MacroPlant. This free little utility lets you access your iOS device like a flash drive from your computer. After downloading that app you will then need to download a plist file into a specific spot on your iOS device (check the article from 9to5 – there is a tweet in there with a picture about where to put the plist file.) This was EASY, Fast and worked like a charm. It was a bit tricky getting the plist file into the right spot and I think I had to restart my iPad to make it take effect. But now I can start up the AirFoil App on my iPad, go to my iPhone Music App and hit play, select the iPad exactly as I would if I was selecting any other AirPlay device and I’m in business!

If this interests you at all, I would suggest that you go get the plist file, download the tweeted picture and get the AirFoil App form the App Store NOW! Who knows how much longer this will all stay available. Of course who knows if it will even still work after Apple makes all their announcements this next Monday at WWDC.

Reflection on the ReflectionApp and the AirServerApp and Apple TV

I have been very excited because every year when I get my tax refund back I usually convince my wife to let me buy a new toy. Like my iPad’s or a new kayak. This year I’ve known for a long time that I was going to be buying an Apple TV with the converter from HDMI to VGA with audio. I’ve been using my iPad for two years now every day in class and I wanted to take things to the next level. I want the students to be able to see many of the tools that I have at my finger tips.

I’ve been using the AirServerApp, running on my classroom computer for a year now. That app was the previous version 3. I used it to AirPlay music to my classroom sound system. Of course it has worked flawlessly, with the one exception that there was no security on it. That meant that frequently some kid working out down in the weight room would discover a pretty new icon on his iPod Screen (you know, that one for AirPlay that is never there until you can actually use it!) and in the middle of rehearsal I would suddenly have some pumping jams in the middle of a Michael Sweeney festival piece! Now during a high school rehearsal we would simply enjoy the commercial break. I would dance a bit for the class and then flip the mute switch then back to work we would go. BUT I REALLY tried to leave the mute switch on during middle school class because the rest of rehearsal after an episode like that was usually useless! It was worth it though to be able to wirelessly stream music, at will from anywhere I had my phone, iPod Touch or iPad!

You are probably wondering why in the world I didn’t just buy an AirPort Express and use that. Those have pass codes on them! Well I did! The only thing was that my PC tech guys freaked out! Plus I could not for the life of me get that darned thing to work at the school, on the school network! I even talked to the “big guys”, the ones doing the install on the new wireless servers going into our school to see if they had an answer for making it work, These are tech guys not form our school but instead with a big company whose only job was to install these wireless servers. Their answer was – don’t bring in home network devices, our devices will simply block them! I was in fact afraid I would have similar trouble with an Apple TV. I was hoping though that it would work.

Turns out I might not even try though! This last week of February was a great week! Especially for those of us school teachers in situations like this!

First, the ReflectionApp came out! This is from the same company that makes AirParrot – which puts your mac screen on your AppleTV. ReflectionApp is meant to mirror your iOS device onto your Computer! Of course your iOS device has to be capable of this, the iPad2 and iPhone4s both are. Not only does the mirroring include the picture but it streams the audio as well! So in other words, instead of having to but an AppleTV ($99), a convertor ($45 or more), and get it to work with my school network, I simply bought a $15 app and installed it on a computer I already have hooked up to my classroom projector and I am in business.

Second great thing was that the same day I bought and installed the ReflectionApp an error message showed up on my computer. Getting excited about error message is not normal I know, but this error came from an app called AirServer that I have been running for a year now! The message said that I needed to purchase an upgrade from AirServer in order to mirror my iPad! This startled me! I had not heard, and still haven’t, anything about AirServerApp adding the capability to mirror from an iOS device! So I headed over to their website – http://www.airserverapp.com/ and found it plastered all over the front page of the website! I quickly bought the $3.99 update. I had some issues with the update because when I originally bought the AirServerApp I used an old email that I never use any more. I bought the update with a new email. This really ticked off the AirServerApp and for a day I was in a limbo with the update screen from the app freezing up when it tried to authorize the update. The tech support took a day but considering that it was Friday night that’s probably not bad. They updated their databases of paid people and I was in business. I like their tech support.

So now, the good stuff! I’ve been playing with both apps for all of today and it’s been great fun. Of course I am at home with my MacBookPro and no projector hooked up. My kids walk by and I’ve had one of them do a double take and say – Whoa! Your iPad is on your computer! Then one of the other boys said, Why are you doing that?

Here’s what I’ve discovered. With the ReflectionApp there are more options for you to configure. At first boot the iPad (or iPhone) pops up with a border around it. This looks cool at first but in my case I want the image as big as possible so the students can see it better. It’s easy to take the border off. Another option that helps get the image bigger is to have the app go fullscreen. Now I have not really liked using the full screen mode in Lion. But I like it in this app because it is more what I expected – when using my iPad everything is full screen all the time. Plus I want no other distractions when projecting that image to the students. A quick shortcut (command F) and the app pops out of full screen mode. There are different optimizations for what image size you want mirrored, iPad, standard iPhone, Retina iPhone, or High resolution. This has been one of three issues I have found when using ReflectionApp. When I switched to High Resolution I really messed things up. I had to quite Reflection and reboot my iPad both to get things mirroring again. The second issue I found with ReflectionApp is when switching from portrait to landscape mode. If I am in landscape mode when I start the mirroring the image on the computer is filling the full screen, top to bottom – right to left. Then I can switch to landscape and the image is still top to bottom (not right to left of course) BUT when I switch back to landscape the image is no longer filling the entire screen top to bottom. It is smaller. A quick flick of the command F shortcut pops it back but I am not going to want to do that in the middle of class. The image when it is not filling the screen still is large and acceptable though.

Mirroring with both apps have gone very well – I will mention one exception at the end of this post about trying to mirror instrument apps though. In face with the ReflectionApp I found that I can end up mirroring both my iPad2 AND my iPhone4s! OK – I take that back I can mirror both devices with both apps! If you really want to do this though you should not have the automatic full screen mode on though because it is kind of a pain to get it to look like my screen shot. One of the amazing things I’ve found is that I can be running both the ReflecitonApp and AirServerApp at the same time. They are working very well together and they are not fighting each other at all! I even have been running audio from iPad through ReflectionApp and mirroring it too while mirroring my iPhone with AirServerApp! The audio plugged away and the video behaved as it had all day long with just one of these apps running at a time. I have been running the mirroring all day when I have been at my computer (my daughter did become a teen though so my time has been limited with her party and bowling and shopping though!). Every thing runs smooth as I would expect for all normal apps. I even tried photoBooth. There is a bit of a time delay in PhotoBooth as well as FaceTime with the video. At times I do get a stutter in the audio too. You should understand though that I am running an old AirPort Express with only 802.11b and I know that two of my boys have been running iTunes, FaceBook, Web Surfing and the like through their iPodTouches too.

My only complaint is when I have tried my musical instrument apps. For instance a piano app, MorphWiz or something like this. The lag is not going to work at this time for live performance! There is not way I could mirror this at at a concert and play a song on my iPad so the audience could see what was going on. Now I’m not sure what the problem is though because the PR on both web-sites show gaming apps running and they say that people could be using this for mirroring games! I am not a gamer but I do have a few games loaded on my iPad and I tried BugDom and it worked pretty well on both apps. Cro-Mag Rally crashed the ReflectionApp but worked in AirServer. So for gaming and musical instruments…. I wouldn’t hold my breath too much. These apps are not rock solidly performing in either mirroring app yet!

In wrapping this post up… there are two more points I need to make. The ReflectionApp tech support is really super and really super fast! I sent an email requesting and asking about a passcode (because the first version I downloaded didn’t have a passcode in it) Within minutes they had responded back to me. The next day there was an update to the program! Now don’t get me wrong – I know the update was not because of me but these guys are working hard on their app and want to interact with their users.

The AirServerApp has been rock solidly streaming music in my band room for a year now. This app is a bit more polished. For instance, there aren’t very many settings that we can adjust, the app just does it for you. When you select a song on your iPad in the Music app and push play there is a little notification (very Growl like, if you know what Growl is) on your Mac that tells you what song is playing. When you play videos, like YouTube, and take the video full screen, AirServer uses it’s own built-in movie player. AirServer has some more info about this sort of thing on their web site.

Both apps are great. ReflectionApp requires OS 10.6 or higher. AirServer will work somewhat with Tiger, Snow Leopard, Leopard and Lion as well as working some with Android devices (I think just for audio though) they are both $14.99 (the upgrade for AirServer from v3 was $3.99)