Magic Piano by Smule was one of the iPad apps we couldn’t wait to try; now we’ve tried it and we’re in love. While many view the iPad as a device to consume content, if Magic Piano is any indication it’s also going to be a device to help create music.
I got to speak to Dr. Ge Wang, the co-founder, CTO and CCO at Smule yesterday about the development process for Magic Piano, the differences in developing for the iPad versus the iPhone and what the iPad might mean for the future.
Wang, an Assistant Professor at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, really wanted to build an application specifically for the iPad and one that would show off the devices best features.
Working around the clock for just over two months, the team at Smule built Magic Piano to be both an experiment and working proof of concept, as well as an app that could be fun and creative.
Check out this video demonstration that I made earlier today, showing off Magic Piano for iPad:
Wang told me that the size of the screen was both a big inspiration for the app and also something that was highly important in the development process. Unlike the iPhone, which can have 5 multitouch points hit at one time, the iPad has 10. That means you can literally put all of your fingers on the iPad and play or create different sounds.
As for the circular piano shape – while part of that was out of utility — you can fit more keys on screen if you do something in a circle or a spiral — it was also to add a sense of whimsy and fun to the app.
As for the challenges in developing for the iPad versus the iPhone, Wang told me that because the technologies are similar, the size of the device was what was most important to consider. As a side note, it’s clear the company also spent some time dealing with the physics of the device and how the app works; it is something that you can easily use from multiple angles, whether you have it in one hand or propped up on your knees.
Wang sees the iPad as having tremendous potential for the creation of music. Looking at Magic Piano, I have to agree. If this is what you can create in two months as a proof of concept and experiment, who knows what could be built in the next six!
Magic Piano (which costs $2.99) is in many ways the spiritual successor to Ocarina for the iPhone. By that I mean it’s a concept that is simple but brilliant, and one that can truly capture the power of a new device in a way that you may never have considered.
Disclosure: Mashable’s Ben Parr is working with Smule on an unannounced project.