For years, I've had this recurring dream: I walk into a room to find a guitar, which I pick up and play with Eric Clapton-like prowess. I am always surprised at my newfound skill.
I can only intermittently carry a tune and have no musical talent whatsoever. But a new program makes it so easy to play, record and even compose music that it almost feels as if my dream has become reality.
What makes this program even more remarkable is that, despite its power, it runs on a nontraditional mobile platform.
It's GarageBand for iPad, and if you've got an original iPad or the new iPad 2, you'll want to grab this and install it posthaste.
If you use a Macintosh, chances are you've seen GarageBand, because it has been included on all of Apple's traditional computers since the mid-2000s. The Mac OS X version is powerful, but it's also daunting for non-musicians. Yeah, it's got some cute-and-friendly features, but for the most part it's designed for people who want to make music and know how to do it.
The iPad version, however, is a very different beast. While there are plenty of features aimed at those with musical talent, it's really a product for those of us who can barely hum on key. Even if you can't play a note, GarageBand for iPad will have you playing and even composing music soon after you first fire it up. It's an astonishing piece of software, easily the best application I've seen so far this year.