Techgeeks rejoice! The iPhone 3G is finally here (if you can get one) and so is the App Store – a new area of Apple's iTunes Store that's full of tiny games, widgets and (yes) applications with which to fill up your new toy. Just one day in, and it's not just the games and Facebook apps that people are buying – it's music-making software.
At the time of writing, MooCowMusic's Band is sitting pretty at number 2 in the UK sales chart, only being held off the top spot by SEGA's pretty-amazing Super Monkey Ball.
For the uninitiated, Band comprises a selection of virtual instruments (drums, piano, bass guitar, blues guitar and crowd) that you can control via the multi-touch capabilities of the iPhone. These enable you to play complex chords in real time.
As well as hearing the notes, you see the screen react instantly to your touch – piano keys really depress, guitar strings really strum, etc.
All of which is great, but the big story is Band's almost-chart-topping popularity. Why? Because Band has been available for the iPhone for months now. Yup, naughty hackers have been 'jailbreaking' (read hacking) their iPhones and using MooCowMusic's music applications for free since the iPhone's launch last year – inevitably, some old favourites have made the leap from dusty vinyl to shiny gizmo.
In fact, hacks exist all over the net to enable musicians with unlocked iPhones to play all kinds of music apps, and even Guitar Hero. However, beyond the underground world of jailbreaking, the great news is that mainstream iPhone users are stumping up £5.99 and making Band a hit all over again.
Other musician-friendly tools in the App Store include Drummer (the name tells you all you need to know), Guitar Toolkit (a collection of utilities that includes a tuner and chord library) and iMetronome (again, the clue is in the title). While some of the apps have to be paid for, others such as MixMeister Scratch (a simple vinyl-style scratching tool), can be downloaded for free.
Rabid fanboys that we are, MusicRadar downloaded several apps last night… only to discover that we couldn't upload them to our iPod Touch (with which the apps are also compatible) because the official 2.0 software update hasn't been released yet. Bah!
Come back Monday to find out what we think, and keep an eye out for our 'iPhone 3G vs Nintendo DS' blog – the ultimate handheld face-off to see which gizmo is best for music-making!