I tried in earnest to use an iPad as the main sequencer for a live setup for a while, like months. Granted, this was also in the midst of a big learning curve for me, switching from playing your typical live drums, bass, guitar, to electronic music.
We are doing now a duo with vocals and guitar (me) and the other guy also on guitar. Initially, we were just looking to have an electronic percussion and bass rig. iPad has enough power to do that, we were not asking too much of the CPU. But we ran into some challenges.
Many of the apps lack in-song tempo changes. And some developers are astonishingly a bit incredulous that that is an important ‘feature.’ There isn’t consistent implementation of midi. You can use some hosts to set up midi controls for audio units, but we had a lot of failure of those settings to stay put. i.e. we’d turn the setup back on again and they just wouldn’t work despite showing the correct cc’s and devices enabled. Also, that means adding dual host apps which causes issues since you can’t easily multi window, it would be small where you did. There was inconsistent sync with arps between apps and devices and it wasn’t just a latency thing, there was drift.
I don’t know how many hours of my life I won’t get back from messing with the above. Probably 100. I’m not bitter though cause, again, this was all part of me just learning electronic based production.
I’m also not sad I invested in an iPad for two reasons, though we’ve transitioned to Ableton for the above.
For one, we are both using it as a sketch pad for tracks. Korg Gadget will even output in Ableton format. We also use Modstep which is an awesome app but isn’t very often updated. It will just export midi which is easy enough to load up. It sure beats my old mobile method of writing down song ideas, scribbed sheet music!
I am still making samples on the iPad. Making samples, for me mostly percussion, that’s a nice commute, out and about mobile use. Something I fit into regular life stuff. I’ve made some many percussion sounds on the subway, at the park watching my kid play, etc.
Some of the apps I use to make samples: Twisted Wave, a great simple recorder, but will load AU3 effects so you can do sound mangling there too. Do a lot of field percussion recording with that…hey this train car has a nice thud, this broken glass here has a nice scrape… Fieldscaper, designed to record noise out in the field and play around with it. Bunch of AU3 effects. Ruismaker - Noir, FM, and original. Great for making percussion, which I usually edit in Twisted Wave.