Logic Pro 2 is a reminder that Apple’s AI ambitions aren’t just about chatbots

While the focus of Apple’s May 7 special event was mostly hardware — four new iPads, a new Apple Pencil, and a new Magic Keyboard — there were mentions of AI with the M2 and M4 chips as well as new versions of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for the tablets. 

The latter is all about new AI-infused or powered features that let you create a drum beat or a piano riff or even add a warmer, more distorted feel to a recorded element. Even neater, Logic Pro for iPad 2 can now take a single recording and split it into individual tracks based on the instruments in a matter of seconds. 

It’s a look behind the curtain at the kind of AI features Apple sees the biggest appeal and affordance with. Notably, unlike some rollouts from Google or OpenAI, it’s not a chatbot or an image generator. With Logic Pro, you're getting features that can be genuinely helpful and further expand what you can do within an app.

A trio of AI-powered additions for Logic Pro for iPad

Stem Splitter in Logic Pro for iPad 2.

Stem Splitter can separate a single track into four individual ones split up by instrument.  (Image credit: Apple)

Arguably the most helpful feature for musicians will be Stem Splitter, which aims to solve the problem of separating out elements within a given track. Say you’re working through a track or giving an impromptu performance at a cafe; you might just hit record in Voice Memos on an iPhone or using a single microphone.

The result is one track that contains all the instruments mixed. Logic Pro 2 can now import that track, analyze it, and split it into four tracks: vocals, drums, bass and other instruments. It won’t change the sound but essentially puts each element on a separate track, allowing you to easily modify or edit it. You can even place plugins, something that Logic is known for, on iPad and the Mac.

The iPad Pro with M4 will likely be mighty speedy when tackling this thanks to its 16-core neural processing unit, but it will work on any iPad with Apple Silicon through a mixture of on-device AI and deep learning. For musicians big or small, it’s poised to be a simple, intuitive way to convert voice memos into workable and mixable tracks.

AI-powered instruments to complete a track

Bass Session Player in Logic Pro for iPad 2

A look at the Bass Session Player within Logic Pro for iPad 2. (Image credit: Apple)

Building on Stem Splitter is a big expansion with Session Players. Logic Pro has long offered Dummer — both on Mac and iPad — as a way to easily add drums to a track via a virtual player that can be customized by style and even complexity. Logic Pro for iPad 2 adds a piano and bass player to the mix, which are extremely adjustable session players for any given track. With piano, in particular, you can customize the individual left or right hand’s playing style, pick between four types of piano, and use a plethora of other sliding tools. It's even smart enough to recognize where on a track it is, be it a chorus or a bridge. It only took a few seconds to come up with a decent-sized track as well on an iPad Pro.

If you’re only a singer or desperately need a bass line for your track, Logic Pro for iPad 2 aims to solve this with an output that plays with and complements any existing track.

Rounding out this AI expansion for Logic Pro on the iPad is a Chromaglow effect, which takes a common, expensive piece of hardware reserved for studios and places it on the iPad to add a bit more space, color, and even warmth to the track. Like other Logic plugins, you can pick between a few presets and further adjust them.

Interestingly enough, alongside these updates, Apple didn’t show off any new Apple Pencil integrations for Logic Pro for iPad 2. I’d have to imagine that we might see a customized experience with the palette tool at some point.

It’s clear that Apple’s approach to AI, like its other software, services, and hardware, is centered around crafting a meaningful experience for whoever uses it. In this case, for musicians, it’s solving pain points and opening doors for creativity further.

Stem Splitter, new session players, and Chromaglow feel right at home within Logic Pro, and I expect to see similar enhancements to other Apple apps announced at WWDC. Just imagine an easier way to edit photos or videos baked into the Photos app or a way to streamline or condense a presentation within Keynote.

Pricing and Availability

All of these features are bundled in with Logic Pro for iPad 2, which is set to roll out and launch on May 13, 2024. If you’re already subscribed at $ 4.99 a month or $ 49 for the year, you’ll get the update for free, and there is no price increase if you’re new to the app. Additionally, you can get a one-month free trial of first-time Logic Pro for iPad users.

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Microsoft’s cloud ambitions for Windows could kill off desktop PCs – and sooner than we expected

The rumor mill believes Windows 365 is coming in consumer flavors, one of which will be a ‘family’ bundle, and we’ve also heard some chatter on potential pricing for this subscription.

Windows 365 is a cloud-based installation of Windows 11, meaning it’s streamed to you, rather than being installed on your local PC, and it’s currently available to businesses in three different plans (and there are separate products for the enterprise world, too, all with Office apps bundled).

So the rumor, as Windows Latest has heard from its sources, is that there will be Windows 365 consumer plans aimed at everyday users, with the theory proposed that one will be an individual subscription, and the other a family bundle (for multiple users which will work out cheaper than the single-person plan, naturally).

There’s nothing firm on pricing yet, unsurprisingly, but the rumored internal chatter is that Microsoft has been mulling charging at least $ 10 per month for the cheapest Windows 365 consumer product, or perhaps more like $ 20 for that entry-level subscription.

Take all of this, and especially that nugget on pricing, with a whole heap of salt. We’re told that pricing is very much up in the air at this stage, anyway, but we can expect that consumer plans will likely be cheaper than business subscriptions (and we’d hope that’d be the case).

What timeline are we looking at for the launch of consumer Windows 365? Windows Latest reckons that the cloudy spin on Windows 11 will arrive in the fall, so in theory, it could be just a few short months away.

Analysis: The inevitably cloudy future for consumers

We’re not sure that a release is that near on the horizon, in all honesty – we’re pretty skeptical Microsoft is going to move quite that quickly here.

That said, this route definitely seems to be in the cards, as evidenced by materials that have come to light recently due to the FTC vs Microsoft hearing, which make the software giant’s cloud ambitions very clear.

Namely that Microsoft very much sees the future of the consumer space as shifting Windows 11 to the cloud, and an installation of the OS being managed on a remote server, and streamed to any device, anywhere, rather than sitting on your local PC. And these fresh rumors are certainly a weighty hint that this could happen more quickly than we anticipated.

However, before going all-in with the cloud PC, and ruling out local installations completely, Microsoft might first visit some sort of compromise on Windows 11 users, involving a dual-boot system that can either be used locally or as a cloud PC.

The best of both worlds, if you will, and a slightly easier pill to swallow for those who have concerns about going fully to the cloud with their PC. (Worries that may be numerous around security and data privacy, to pick a couple of obvious issues with Microsoft having all your apps and data on its servers).

Indeed, there’s already work underway in testing with Windows 365 Boot for Windows 11, which allows for logging into either a cloud PC instance or the local installation of Windows on the desktop PC in front of you.

We really don’t know exactly how Microsoft will approach the idea of the cloud PC in the consumer space, but we’ve got a feeling it’s going to have to be pretty cautious and tentative, because this is such a big change. What we do know is the cloud PC concept is almost definitely coming to consumers at some point, and expect to hear more on the rumor mill before too long, no doubt.

Another idea Microsoft may be exploring is the idea of cheap subscription-based and cloud-connected PCs subsidized by adverts.

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