Analysts, Apple on Logic, GarageBand

The focus of Apple Computer Inc. executives was on music Wednesday as the Cupertino, Calif.-based company released new versions of its professional music creation software Logic, Logic Express and new Jam Packs for its consumer level application GarageBand. Research analysts feel that Apple's overall product strategy of offering multiple products from consumer to pro is sound.

Logic

Logic 7 includes over 100 workflow enhancements, an accomplishment the company seems particularly proud of because they affect the way the user interacts with the application.

"Longtime Logic customers are going to appreciate the attention to detail that's been paid to what they do on a common workflow," Richard Kerris, Apple's Senior Director of Pro Applications, Worldwide Product Marketing, told MacCentral. "It's a Mac way of doing things, which takes into consideration that you are going to be doing multiple things at once."

Another consideration Apple factored into Logic 7 is how its customers graduate from consumer level apps to its higher-end pro products. Logic Express was also updated today giving users a music upgrade path from GarageBand to Logic Express to Logic Pro depending on individual talents and needs.

"We paid very close attention to the scalability of the products from consumer to pro, said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Marketing. "Now what we have is a single line of products, from GarageBand to Logic Pro that are built on the same underlying technologies, but are tailored to specific audiences."

Apple also added support in Logic for the Apple Loops technology, most often used in Soundtrack and GarageBand. Now users that upgrade from GarageBand to the intermediate Logic Express or the pro-level Logic Pro can take their loops and projects along with them, eliminating some of the apprehension of upgrading to a new product.

Schoeben says Logic Express follows the "same philosophy" as Final Cut Express in that users get many of the same features as the pro product for a reduced price. What users don't get in Logic Express probably isn't need for an intermediate product.

"The core engine of Logic Pro is in Logic Express, but we don't provide the advanced plug-ins and distributed audio processing. It's the Logic UI [user interface], feature set and control we give the pros."

In August Apple released a Production Suite that included Final Cut Pro HD, Motion and DVD Studio Pro 3, but don't expect Logic to appear in a suite of applications anytime soon.

"In a way Logic is a bundle. Logic used to have a whole bunch of products in the eMagic line -- what we did is put them together, taking about $2,300 worth of stuff and put it in Logic Pro," said Schoeben. "The audio production community thinks of Logic as a suite."

GarageBand

For consumers, Apple released two new Jam Packs, add-ons for its consumer level music creation software, GarageBand. The two new Jam Packs offer users the ability to make music more focused in genres, instead of the general feel of Jam Pack 1.

"The first Jam Pack was a broad swathe of loops and instruments to enrich the GarageBand experience," said Schoeben. "The two new Jam Packs are focused on allowing someone to go much deeper into the specific genre of their choice."

Jam Pack 2 is designed to offer GarageBand users more options for creating dance, hip-hop and electronica tracks, while Jam Pack 3 provides "a complete backing band" for aspiring musicians looking to make rock, alternative and country music.

Overall Sound Strategy

Analysts feel that Apple has embarked on a sound product strategy by offering users an upgrade path for every level as their skills progress.

"I think it's a great strategy for them because it allows people to scale up the product line as their needs grow," said Michael Gartenberg, Senior Analyst at Jupiter Research. "The problem in audio was that somewhere between Logic and GarageBand was a whole range of users that needed more. Apple has been very wise to take this step and create entry level, mid-range and high-end products.

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