The release of Garageband for iPhone and iPad alongside Pages and the iPad 2 was a clear message from Apple. It was time to take ambitious iOS apps seriously - when previously it had often put the iOS emphasis on other elements like web browsing, and consumption of content.
Garageband is a complete composition tool, letting you record your own instrument or vocal tracks using an audio interface or microphone, or use the included loops and virtual instruments to do the job for you.
Apple put the emphasis clearly on the beginner, letting you crank out tunes without any musical knowledge, ability or even rhythm. For those with a bit of experience, Garageband also lets you throw off the "Smart Instrument" shackles and play the instruments "properly", or at least as properly as is possible on a 9.7in touchscreen interface.
There are plenty of limitations, of course. Only having eight tracks to play with is restrictive, many of the virtual instruments don't sound all that great - no surprise given the whole kaboodle only weighs-in at 500-odd megabytes - and its handholding approach will feel restrictive if you're looking something to replace an ageing multitrack. However, there are other apps out there to do that. Garageband is here for the mainstream crowd, though, and on that front it's a complete success.
Easy to use and versatile, Garageband is a great entry point for those who want to compose their own tunes.