Apple seems to have some big plans for expanding what GarageBand is capable of: in an update to GarageBand for iOS today, the company is introducing a “Sound Library” that lets you download and install new virtual instruments as well as sound and loop packs. It’s starting off with eight new packs and instruments, all available for free, and Apple says it’ll continue to bring more packs to the app over time.
The intention here is to provide a lot more options for people creating music inside of GarageBand. But for now, there’s a lot we don’t know. Apple isn’t committing to updating GarageBand’s Sound Library on any sort of regular basis — though the company does say it can be updated between major app releases, so they may come with more frequency. And Apple isn’t saying whether third parties will eventually be able to offer their own sound packs right inside of GarageBand, despite launching something that looks suspiciously similar to the App Store.
It certainly seems like Apple is at least considering letting third parties join in. GarageBand’s Sound Library appears to be built off the App Store’s infrastructure, right down to the “Get” button for downloading free packs. That suggests Apple could eventually let companies publish their own content into the Sound Library, and potentially even charge for it. While it’s been possible to get custom sounds into GarageBand before — and it’s certainly been possible in more professional apps — the Sound Library presents a much simpler, user-friendly option for discovery, which seems like a smart addition to an app aimed primarily at amateurs.
The eight debut entries to the Sound Library include three new instruments — taiko drums and two string instruments, the koto and guzheng — a beat sequencer, new virtual drummers, and some sound packs. Apple declined to say whether this update will come to the desktop version of GarageBand, but the two apps tend to stay in sync, so it seems likely to arrive eventually.