Music Memos: anyone with an iPhone will sound like a rockstar!

Music-Memos-app-iconApple today released Music Memos, an all-new iPhone and iPad app that is essentially an enhanced version of the stock Voice Memos app for songwriters.

Music Memos is designed for musicians and songwriters to quickly and easily capture their impromptu song ideas on the fly, whenever inspiration strikes.

The app has a simple user interface at first glance, with nothing but a small recording button, but tucked away behind tiny icons are several useful features.

Recording

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To begin recording, simply open the Music Memos app and tap on the blue circle button. The user interface will turn red while recording. Alternatively, you can tap on the “Auto” label in the top-left corner and the app will automatically start and stop the recording based on your voice.

As you are recording, the circle will pulsate to your voice, or musical instruments, and there is a waveform at the bottom of the screen. To finish recording, simply tap the red circle button and the snippet will appear at the bottom with a title, playback button, pitch notation, and other options.

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Tapping on the guitar or drum set icons overlays the music recording with drums and a bass line to provide a virtual, customizable backing band. Moreover, your snippet can be renamed, deleted, tagged, or rated on a five-star scale. The app also provides visual warnings if it detects your recording is too quiet or too loud.

Editing

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Music Memos saves a list of your recordings, accessible by tapping the tray button at the top of the app. Tapping on a snippet’s waveform brings up various editing options for tempo, time signature, downbeat, tuning and length.

The app automatically analyzes your recording and displays musical measures and suggested chord names. Any chord names throughout your song can be renamed or provided further detail by tapping on them.

There are also the options to trim the beginning and end of your recording, adjust the tempo, time signature and downbeat, and keep track of comments, lyric ideas, alternate guitar tunings, or capo position.

Tuning

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Music Memos includes a built-in tuner for chromatic pitch notation, accessible by tapping the tuning fork button in the top-right corner. The tuner automatically shows a letter note once it detects sound.

There are already several existing tuner apps on the App Store, including Guitar Tuna andCleartune, but this is a convenient, all-in-one option that songwriters can use to both record musical ideas and tune their guitars.

Exporting and Sharing

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Music Memos snippets, which are 24-bit 44.1kHz audio files, can be saved to iCloud Drive, exported to Logic Pro X and GarageBand for iOS or Mac, or shared directly on Apple Music Connect, SoundCloud, and YouTube. Simply tap on the tray button at the top, expand a recording from the list and tap the share button.

Music Memos is free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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WhatsApp is now free and promises to stay ad-free

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WhatsApp is dropping its subscription fees to access the popular messaging service. WhatsApp introduced the fees a few years ago, forcing new users to pay an annual 99 cents subscription after the first year. “As we’ve grown, we’ve found that this approach hasn’t worked well,” admits WhatsApp in a company blog post today.

“Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.”

If you’ve been using WhatsApp for the six years it has been available then you’ve probably never experienced the subscription fees. Most original users were granted a free lifetime service, but in recent years the company introduced its subscription to new users. Recode reports that if you’ve already paid the 99 cents for the year then there won’t be a refund, but subscription fees will cease immediately.

WhatsApp now has nearly 1 billion users, so the free timing removes the barrier for millions more to join the messaging service. The Facebook-owned service plans appears to be planning to generate revenue through services to businesses. “We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.” That means you might be able to send WhatsApp messages to your bank or airlines in the future. WhatsApp isn’t planning to enable third-party ads within the service, and it’s sticking to its original principles. The founders of WhatsApp were strongly opposed to ads, noting back in 2012 that “when advertising is involved you the user are the product.”

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Google Calendar gets Reminders!

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We normally use our Calendar for scheduling meetings at work, remembering dates with friends, and keeping track of all our other commitments. But often our to-do list is elsewhere, separate from the Calendar that organizes our day, and we end up overcommitted or miss something important because we forgot to check our list. Gmail also has had a “to-do” feature for the longest time, but it was pretty useless, as it was a simple standalone, one-off feature that probably graduated from Labs at one point. It was never integrated, and almost everyone complained about it. Luckily Google has listned and is fixing that today.

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Google is rolling out the ability to add reminders in Google Calendar for iOS and Android (web is coming soon).

Here’s what the team had to say about the update:

You might already create calendar entries to remind you to call the doctor or pick up groceries on the way home. But while those entries come and go, Reminders stick with you over time so you can track them until they are actually done. If a Reminder isn’t completed, it will appear at the top of your Calendar the next day. And the next. When you do finally call the doctor or pick up those necessities, just swipe the Reminder away … and you’re onto the next to-do.

You can also create a Reminder from Google Inbox, Google Keep and Google Now on your Android device. So basically, you can say “Remind me to take out the trash today at 1pm” and it’ll add it up on your calendar just like that.

Reminders will be rolling out this week with the latest versions of Calendar on Google Play and the App Store.

New Whatsapp Features for iPhone and Android!

Whatsapp Bookmark iOS

WhatsApp, the popular Facebook-owned messaging service, has started rolling out a new ‘Starred Messages’ feature for iOS users in the form of an app update. The feature aims to let users quickly access bookmarked messages including images, videos, or other content quickly.

WhatsApp users would now be able to ‘Star’ a message using tap and hold gesture. The message would then be saved in a separate new ‘Starred Messages’ tab. The feature is also available for WhatsApp Groups.

Starred Messages has been seeded to iOS users in the app version 2.12.7 and is likely to reach Androidand Windows Phone soon. The updated app is available to download form the App Store.

The more we rely on our smartphones for every facet of our lives, the more risk there is of losing important data if your phone gets lost, stolen or destroyed. Android already has some backup services built in, but the massively popular chat client WhatsApp has just announced a partnership with Google to make sure its 900 million users don’t lose anything important to them. Starting today, WhatsApp users on Android will have the option to back up their entire WhatsApp history right to Google Drive. The backup will include chat histories, voice messages, photos and video, and you’ll be able to restore all of that data to a new phone when you set up WhatsApp.

Unfortunately, as with many new Google features, this one will be coming by the ever-popular gradual rollout. This is a particularly long one — Google says the feature will become available over the next few months. Once it’s available, you’ll find the option in WhatsApp’s settings. Why it’ll take so long isn’t clear, so you’ll have to just start checking your app periodically if you want to take advantage of the new feature.

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