How to make music with an iPad and a ‘classic’ Swedish synth

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These two will make beautiful music together.
A perfect music-making combo.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

At first glance, the decade-old OP-1 synthesizer from Swedish musical instrument makers Teenage Engineering looks about as standalone as it gets.

The tiny device couples a short, piano-style keyboard with a screen. And it contains a drum machine, several synthesizers, a sampler, a handful of sequencers, a virtual four-track tape recorder and even an FM radio. You can create entire tracks on it with no other gear, or you can hook it up to electric guitars and microphones and bring the outside world in.

But it also pairs surprisingly well with an iPad. You can record audio back and forth, but things go much deeper than that. You also can use the OP-1’s hardware keyboard to play instruments on the iPad, and use iPad MIDI apps to control the synthesizers on the OP-1.

Making music with an iPad and a synth

If you own both pieces of gear already, hopefully this how-to will give you some new ideas about making music with an iPad. But if you only own an iPad, this in-depth article will provide tips for using your tablet with other music gear.

And if you know nothing about the OP-1, or about Teenage Engineering’s work in general, you’ll learn why the company is kind of the Apple of the synth world. Teenage Engineering is known for its incredible interface design — and for having a quirky personality similar to 1984-era Apple, when the brand-new Mac was making waves.

How to add a local folder to your iPad

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It’s not so easy to fill up that storage space on your iPad local files
It’s not so easy to fill up that storage space on your iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of iOS’s most ridiculous omissions is the lack of any way to create a local folder in the Files app. You can add as many folders as you like to your iCloud Drive, but if you just want to create a folder that lives on your iPad, tough.

Luckily, there are workarounds. Here are a couple.

How to create Dropbox-style links in iCloud Drive

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Cloud storage.
Cloud storage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you keep your stuff in Dropbox, it’s easy to grab a link to a file or a folder. Then you can send that link to another person or store it in, say, your to-do list so you can quickly open it with a click. You can even grab the link inside the iOS Files app.

But if you use iCloud, this simple task is no longer simple. In typical Apple style, a clean UI comes at the expense of hiding almost everything behind multiple taps and cryptic pop-up boxes. But all is not lost. You can actually grab a link to any file stored in your iCloud Drive — and use it in any app you please.

How to browse all your Mac’s folders from the iPad’s Files app

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The days when a MacBook was vastly better than an iPad are over.
Browse your Mac’s files from your iPad.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Have you ever sat on the couch, or out on the porch with your iPad, and realized that the file you need is on your Mac? And only on your Mac — not in Dropbox or iCloud Drive or some other easy-to-reach storage? You have to get up, walk to the Mac, and then work out how to get that file onto your iPad.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With one app, you can put all of your Mac’s (or PC’s) folders and files right there inside the iPad’s Files app, ready to browse. Let’s do it.

How Apple could fix the iPad home screen in iOS 13 [Opinion]

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Ipad home screen
It this really an appropriate home screen for the powerful 2018 iPad Pro?
Photo: Apple

According to rumors, iOS 13 will bring a redesigned home screen to the iPad. It’s about time. The grid of apps might have worked fine on the iPhone before the App Store, but after nine years of using the expanded version on the iPad, the joke is starting to get old.

So, if Apple is finally ready to make a home screen worthy of the iPad, we have a few suggestions.

Pro Tip: How to reveal the Files sidebar in portrait view

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Files may be clunky, but it's better than this.
Files may be clunky, but it's better than this.
Photo: Phil Roeder/Flickr CC

Cult of Mac Pro Tip: How to reveal the Files sidebar in portrait view This is a simple tip, but until I worked it out it was driving me crazy. In landscape orientation, the iPad Files app’s sidebar is always present, making it easy to get to any favorite folder, location or label, pretty much instantly.

In portrait, though, the sidebar disappears. However, there are two easy ways to make it come back, neither of which involves tapping the back arrow until you arrive at the root level of iCloud Drive.

Documents is the files app iOS deserves [Essential iOS Apps #42]

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Documents app main screen
Documents offers mobile access to all your files, across your servers and cloud storage products.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: DocumentsFor the last few years, discussions about whether you can do “real work” on iOS have circled the internet. One of the most commonly cited issues with iOS was the lack of a file browser. In iOS 11, Apple gave us the Files app, but it suffers from some major limitations. Documents by Readdle takes the file management on iOS to the next level.

How to get iOS’ handy Recents feature on your Mac

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Clock recent items
This clock illustrates the time component of 'recent' items.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the handiest features on iOS 11’s Files app is the Recents view. This view — available in the Files app itself, and in any other app that uses the Files picker to locate documents — shows all the files you have created or opened in the last few days.

Did you ever wish you could do the same on your Mac? Well, you can. Today we’re going to see how to add a folder to your Dock that shows recent iCloud Drive files.

Everything we expect Apple to unveil at its September 12 event

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Tim Cook was short on surprises at the 'Hello Again' keynote.
What will Tim surprise us with this time?
Photo: Apple

The biggest Apple keynote of 2017 is just a few short hours away. And according to the rumors, its going to be one of the most memorable tech events in years.

When Tim Cook and Co. take the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater on September 12, we expect them to unveil not one, not two, but three new iPhones. A bunch of other new hardware and software is also on the docket, making this an Apple keynote not to be missed.

Here’s everything Apple will likely reveal.

iOS 11 turns the iPad into a legit Mac replacement

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iPad iOS 11
iOS 11 for iPad might be Apple's biggest new product this year.
Photo: Apple

Updated 27 June, 2017: This post now includes details about the iOS 11 public beta.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote this June was so packed that even two-and-a-half hours didn’t seem like enough time. And yet the biggest announcement wasn’t new hardware, or a new app. It was an update.

Specifically, the iOS 11 update for the iPad, which turns Apple’s tablet from little more than a big iPhone into a full-featured touchscreen PC. In one go, Apple showed that it is still full-steam behind the iPad, and that a desktop-class touchscreen computer doesn’t have to actually run a desktop OS, like Microsoft’s Surface.