My 5 most-used apps this year

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best apps beatmaker 3
Beatmaker 3 is my favorite app this year.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

For my job at Cult of Mac, I test a lot of apps. But of course, I also use a lot of apps, for work, for recreation, and for making music. I thought I’d make a short list of my most-used apps this year. Few, if any, of these apps are new this year, although some of them received major updates in 2019. But all of them are excellent, well-made apps, well worth checking out.

So, let’s get started.

Cubasis 3 is a total rewrite of a beloved music-making app

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Cubasis 3 is a complete rewrite.
Cubasis 3 is a complete rewrite.
Photo: Steinberg

Cubasis, the audio workstation app from Steinberg, just got rewritten as a brand new app. Cubasis 3 looks just like the old version, but is all-new, and includes support for the iPhone as well as the iPad. And hopefully, this rewrite also means that in the future, updates that adjust the user interface for new iOS features and screen sizes will be supported a lot faster. It took more than a year for Cubasis to support the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, for example.

So, what’s new in Cubasis 3?

Pure Acid, the best drum and bass machine on the iPad (and iPhone!)

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Pure acid
Here’s Pure Acid with a fetching gold makeover.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pure Acid is a bass synthesizer and drum machine app for the iPad, and it might just be the best drum machine app ever. It is, for me, the first app that actually feels like you’re using physical drum machine hardware instead of just another touchscreen app. Part of this is down to the one-screen interface, where everything is (mostly) always in the same spot — just like real buttons. And part is due to the app design genius of Pure Acid’s creator, Dmitrij Pavlov (aka Jim Pavloff).