In the past, creating professional quality tracks meant dropping some serious cash on high-end software and hardware. In more recent years however, there has been a push toward making it more affordable for musicians to record at home. A key player in the development of these powerful yet straight-forward apps is Apple. In 2004, they changed the game with their now-famous GarageBand application, included with every new mac. With it, they have successfully delivered the ability to record high-quality audio tracks to the masses.
It's now 2008 and this time Apple's role isn't creating new software, it's offering the ideal device (the iPhone) and aiding in accelerating the development of new and powerful apps. They even provide a distribution system that as much as developer's complain, is still the simplest and most cost-effective way to deliver these new apps to the masses.
Most follow Apple's simplified, user-friendly philosophy, all without comprising the power and depth of the application, while others emerged to provide specialty music creation apps to a niche market. No other mobile platform can claim to offer so many option for music production on the go. Sure, applications have been made available for Palm and other mobile OSes, but none are even remotely close to the sheer power and ease-of-use offered with the latest round of iPhone music apps.
Surprisingly, we've yet to see Apple themselves take a jab at using the iPhone as a music creation device, although rumors have emerged of a suposed "iLife Mobile" which would bring video and audio editing to the iPhone in true Apple style. Who knows, maybe we'll see Logic, Apple's high-end production software, follow suit and gain a little brother in the form of a lightweight mobile version, although it is, at best, unlikely.
As is the case with any platform, the iPhone has its limitations. A storage capacity hardly suited for storing large sample banks and limited processing power, matched with the amount of resources required to run an app as complex as Logic make for a grim-looking future for true professional quality audio production on the iPhone. But who knows, Apple has amazed before and if anyone has the experience to do it, it's the folks over in Cupertino.