Roben Kleene

Pro Audio Work on iOS in Context

In an excellent video by Jonathan Morrison, professional hip hop producer Justin “Henny” Henderson, of Tha Bizness, discusses how he works exclusively on an iPad. While we can appreciate what this video for what it is, it’s also important to remember a single data point like this isn’t useful in predicting the direction of an industry.

For comparison, lets look at what this type of transition looks like in another industry. The Atom text editor was first released in 2014, and soon after Visual Studio Code was released in 2015. Both offered similar benefits over their predecessors: A best-in-class plugin ecosystems, an advantage that is complemented by both being open source and built on web technologies.

Based on Stackoverflow’s Annual Developer Survey data, here’s how their market share growth has looked since their release:

  1. 2015: 2.8% combined, 2.8% Atom
  2. 2016: 19.7% combined, 12.5% Atom, 7.2% Visual Studio Code
  3. 2017: 39.6% combined, 17.3% Atom, 22.3% Visual Studio Code
  4. 2018: 52.9% combined, 18% Atom, 34.9% Visual Studio Code

That’s 52.9% of market share captured just four years after they were introduced. We don’t have any real numbers about iPad market share in professional music production1, but I think we can be certain they don’t look anything like this.

There are all sorts of reasons the music production industry is different than the programming industry. The programming industry is known for its fast pace of change. But the software Henny is using in the video, BeatMaker, was first released in 2008. At what point do we call a dud a dud?

  1. This kind of freely available survey data on industry trends is unique to programming, it’s also starting to appear for design↩︎