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I ask that if you're reading this to read through and to please consider my request seriously and to let the good folks at Finale know how much you'd like to see Finale iOS. If you have any reservations, let me prove to you why it would help advance and not slow the progress Finale (the desktop version).
And I can also show you how and why a Finale iOS version could have a major impact on your workflow.

I own an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. I use Notion iOS for my daily off site notation sketching and full charting and part printing to completion app. It works! And if I need to add something to a chart that the iOS version can't do (which there isn't much of), I can save to iCloud, Dropbox, save as MIDI file, XML and PDF. Then transfer it to Notion, Finale or my DAW for further editing.

But I would like to see Finale iOS and it's my desktop notation app.

There are two critical things to understand about iOS.

1) The A9X chip used in the iPad Pro's is fast. It's approaching decent i5 speeds and can easily handle playback of a full orchestra or if you're running a DAW and need to do sound design or you're composing in an iOS DAW, the iPad Pro runs several powerful DAWs (I'm currently using Cubasis which is the iOS version of Cubase - although I'm a Digital Permorner user on my multi-MacPro desktop rig), an iPad Pro can handle most needs with ease.

Note entry can be accomplished just like the desktop version (including using an attacked MIDI controller either via a USB cable or through Bluetooth. Bluetooth is great because it frees up the Lightning port to be used as a digital audio out, which can not only be connected to your desktop rig via a USB port, but an external clock can control playback. In other words it's about the same as having a MacBook connected to your main rig but it does things a MacBook can't. For one, the synths now available for iOS are extremely powerful.

2) The Apple Pencil. I can write notation freely with the pencil on a blank Notion iOS document and it takes my handwriting and turns it into vector graphics. The one problem with Notion iOS is that it only allows you to write on the bottom 25 percent of the screen. That doesn't quite cut it. But that's not an iOS or iPad issue. If you haven't already looked at the app StaffPad for Window's Surface tablets, your jaw will drop with envy when you do (look it up). StaffPad is basically a blank template for any ensemble you want. You write on the screen with a stylus just like you would with pencil and paper and StaffPad will convert your handwriting into vector graphics AND it makes use of the entire screen. It's taken the Windows notation world by storm. The makers of StaffPad have been inundated by iPad users asking for an iOS version but they stubbornly refuse to port to iOS stating the the iPad is not powerful enough (THIS IS BLATANTLY FALSE) as the A9x and the forthcoming A10x are fastly approaching i5 and even i7 capabilities. I have the Geekbench scores to prove it.

They also say that iOS is too locked down. Again, this is pure nonsense. Unfortunately the programmer for StaffPad is a Windows developer only and refuses to consider porting anything to Apple. I have a history with Apple and I can tell you that he is wrong. The iPad Pro is now capable of handling a desktop type app. Notion iOS basically does everything the desktop version does.

Notion iOS does 90 percent of what I need it to do. But again, the iOS community is insulted that there aren't very many big name notation apps for iOS. However there are many apps trying. There's Notion, Muse Score, Score Creator, Guitar Pro, NotateMe Now (all Pencil usage), Symphony Pro, iReal Pro, TouchNotation, Avid Scorch, and many others. BUT what's missing are the BIG TWO - Finale and Sibelius.

Admittedly Finale as is might be a tough port because it's so deep and has been built around the mouse and desktop metaphor for a long time. But with the latest version, Finale 25, a companion Finale iOS doesn't seem as far fetched as it might have been a couple of years ago.

I'm a film composer, conductor, music theory and composition teacher, and I have a background in technology. I worked at Apple for some years. And I can honestly tell you that the time is right for Finale iOS. iOS and iPad Pros are now powerful enough to hang with the desktop version ( in most respects), and in some ways the workflow is faster (depending on the task).

I have fallen in love with sketching and charting on the iPad Pro and I believe if Finale made an iOS version, it would take off like wildfire. StaffPad has done amazingly well for Surface sales and for composers and arrangers in rehearsals that are doing edits, cranking out cues (which get handed off to the destop orchestrator for clean up and part printing, but in Notion iOS can be done on the iPad itself!). StaffPad has revolutionized the way film scores and composers on location work. The iPad Pro is waiting for that app. Notion iOS is close, but because they got bought out by Presonus, integration with Studio One had become a priority. Hence, right now is the perfect time for Finale to make its move to iOS.

There are many, like me, that are heavily invested in iOS and the large iPad Pro specifically and refuse to buy into a Windows system. IMO, the Surface Pro's are clunky compared to the iPad Pro.

I herby request that Finale and MakeMusic port a version of Finale to iOS that is a combination of what Notion iOS and StaffPad have accomplished. I'm willing to use my YouTube channel to make videos showing the power of Notion iOS on the iPad Pro to demonstrate what a Finale iOS could do for the composer on the go.

I'm also asking for the voices of the Finale community to speak up and ask for Finale iOS. I'm guessing some of you already get it and already want it. But for those of you that are skeptical, please voice your concerns to me and let me show you the power, freedom and the newly found freshness of being able to notate at a high level on a mobile device. You will be surprised. Many times I have felt the creative desire in between rehearsals and then charted out my ideas during breaks or between rehearsals, and that has revolutionized my workflow, (and my output!).

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to your feedback.

Steve Steele (Finale users since 1995).

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Hi and thanks Gregg for steering the writing into a constructive direction.

These are my opinions and thoughts... I'm not out for offending and please forgive me if I do.. :-)
I'm thinking in the way might be to cooperate with existing apps... get in touch with Presonus and make Notion on iPad (maybe the desktop as well) compatible with Finale on a useful level better than now... I guess that would be a win-win for both.

IMHO Notion is great but lacks the deeply and professional possibilities of Finale. Finale needs to work on the rewire implementation (like if you make an edit it won't playback, still playback the old stuff in rewire mode). If Notion was Finale, that would be a killer. 

I'm a bit of a Presonus fan, using Studio One (became fed up with Avid and left PTHD for S1, actually switched (happily) to Finale from Sibelius for the same reason). Purchased Notion, Notion iPad, Notateme and others of the curiosity of what is going on on the iOS platform.
For me it seems like Notion is the winner. I was really hopeful about Neuration and Notateme and the OCR part, but nothing has happened for a long time? 

Best,

Pelle

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>> What are the best arguments for why MakeMusic should consider an iOS version of Finale? 

 

If I were one of the MM developers--or one of their marketing team--I'd say, "Look. There are only 12 votes for the option on the Features page. More people need to vote for this before it's worth our development time."

 

While not everyone who might want this will see the page, those who do and want the option need to vote for it.

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Fair question Gregg.  For an investment to develop on IOS, there has to be an addressable market. 

Finale knows their market penetration and market share better than we do.  Market competition drives investment to upgrade existing Finale products on Mac and Windows platforms, both desktop and laptop.  However, with no full featured competitors on the iPad, there is little incentive to invest in the IOS market.

Finale products like Notepad or PrintMusic are “gateway” products. They allow users to get started using basic features, then makes it easy for them to upgrade to the full version of Finale if they decide they need the more advanced features.  Finale has no “gateway” product on IOS and neither does anyone else for that matter, so there is still no incentive to invest.

The iPad has rapidly grown in popularity since its introduction in 2010.  As of the end of Q2 2017, which for Apple was almost a year ago, more than 350 million iPads have been sold, and their capabilities have steadily improved. If only 1% of the iPads sold were used for music editing and that product sold for $50, that’s an addressable market of $175M. Right now, no one seems to be going after this market. See iPad sales figures below (source: https://www.lifewire.com/how-many-ipads-sold-1994296).  You might want to check the lifewire numbers, but Apple reported they sold 13.17M iPad units in the quarter ending 31 Dec 2017, and 13.081M units in the quarter ending 31 Dec 2016, which is their "2017 Q1" according to their latest 10-Q filing with the SEC.  That spot check indicates they may have the accurate numbers, but I'm not going digging through 7 years of 10-Q's to double-check their data.

A secondary market has grown up around iPad stage stands and clips as well as Bluetooth page-turners for apps like forScore and iGigBook, so it seems that giging musicians are adopting this new IOS technology.  My own anecdotal observation is that I am starting to see musicians, both professional and amateur, use iPads for performance and rehearsal.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to change an error on a chart. 

The iPad Pro has a lot of processing power, but just using that to display PDFs of sheet music is a waste of capability and tough to justify the expense. However, if someone is willing to drop ~$800+ on an iPad Pro plus another $100 for the Apple Pencil, I doubt they would balk at spending $$ for a music app that helped their workflow.  Currently, no one appears to be targeting this ~$175M addressable market to provide a capability to edit music on the IOS Platform that seamlessly connects with a full-featured editor like Finale 25.  If I were managing Finale R&D, I’d sure have a “skunkworks” group working on a Finale gateway product on the IOS platform that leverages the capabilities of the iPad Pro/Apple Pencil combination to address this emerging market.  Someone will do it.  Will it be Finale, Sibelius, or something else?  Time will tell. 

 

 

 

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Hi Adrian!! 

You are right, but I must admit I have not even understood that the FS forum is about voting. It's not very clear, or maybe just me :-)

Maybe others have not seen the voting like me, and I have several friends and heavy Finale users I believe not even have been looking here. But when talking Finale and about iPad I have not heard one not thinking that would be fantastic (it if was compatible). :-)

I keep on hoping but not counting on anything... 

Best, Pelle

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Hi, Gregg et al.,

 

A great discussion and I really like Gregg's question from 3 days ago "What are the best arguments for why MakeMusic should consider an iOS version of Finale? " I am very interested in understanding what people are attempting to accomplish that the current offerings on the iOS/Andriod market do not provide. 

 

I would also like to point out that back in December MakeMusic announced a notation editor in SmartMusic, our web-based product. Blog post here. I would quickly admit that this is specific to SmartMusic and the workflow needs of educators with a traditional assignment loop. So, to put Gregg's question another way, what would the SM Editor need to do to fulfill the "Finale on the iOS" request?

  • Completely editing of all musical elements? The Editor does that.
  • Work on files in the cloud? The editor does that.
  • Support a performance workflow (in addition to the assignment loop workflow)?
  • Support a collaborative workflow? Flat.io is doing some great work in this area.
  • Support of publishing music? NoteFlight and MuseScore are doing some great work in this area.
  • Lossless support for the .musx file? Currently, the SM Editor consumes MusicXML files and can not export
  • Hand-recognition?
  • Scanning?
  • Interface parity with Finale? Because the SM Editor is not Finale, there are some differences, but keyboard shortcuts are essentially the same.
  • What would you value this feature set at?

 

Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback.

Cheers,

Michael Johnson

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A Mac version of the Surface Book has the potential to handle all Apple OS’s. A person can dream...

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Hello, all. 

 

First off, I apologize for posing a question and then seeming to opt out of the discussion. A crazy deadline coupled with the sudden death of one of my brothers has had me in a tizzy. Things are coming back together now, and so I have time to respond to your comments. 

 

Well, I don’t have time to address everyone’s thoughts in depth in one sitting, but I will respond over the next few days. I’m starting from the bottom up with Morey’s and Michael’s thoughts. 

 

Morey, more than one person has dreamed as you do of a touch-capable macOS. I doubt Apple will do that, but I understand the desire. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see where Apple goes with the Mac. 

 

Michael, I’d be satisfied with your first bullet point. As an engraver tasked with getting music into print, that’s all I care about—not to disparage those with other needs, of course. 

 

So when I read that your SM notation editor is available, I immediately jumped to your blog post and read with great interest. 

 

When I got to the bottom of your post, I tapped the link to set up a free account and was sad to discover that I can’t sign up without being associated with a school. 

 

I’d love to be able to give your solution a try, but I don’t see a way for individuals to do it. 

 

Or am I missing something? 

 

Regarding your other bullet points, number six is a deal-breaker for me. The entire point of a mobile version of Finale—and not just for a print-focused engraver, I think—is to be able to work on native files without conversion. 

 

Your last bullet point is the most interesting of all. It seems that the big vendors like Adobe (smaller ones too) are securing their revenue streams with subscription models. So, to answer your question: 

 

If I had an iOS version of Finale that allowed me to do “most of” (definition purposely omitted for the moment) what I can do with the desktop version, I’d happily pay, say, $29.95 per month. 

 

Of course, there are so many vagaries and variables in my statement that it’s hardly helpful to you. I know that. 

 

So, that’s it from me for now. Michael, if there is, indeed, a way for me to access a trial for the SM notation editor as an individual, I’d love to know what it is. 

 

The best to you all.

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What I was actually hoping for was a Mac multiOS touchscreen laptop that could run iOS in tablet mode and native macOS in laptop mode. No changes needed to Finale.

BTW I use Parallels Access to work on my Finale scores with my iPad. It’s not perfect but it lets me do light editing. It would be easier with the iPad Pro and pencil.

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Making Finale respond to touchscreen input involves a lot of changes. Otherwise the program would already be touchscreen compliant.

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Now that Apple has announced the new iPad Pro, with a USB-C port and enough power to persuade Adobe to port the full version of Photoshop to iOS, isn't it time for MakeMusic to consider developing a full version of Finale for iOS?

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They are having enough problems getting it to work on the desktop. I suspect that all the wishing in the world won’t make it happen, until somebody with very deep pockets buys out Peakswear.

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 Well this thread is two years old but it’s what came up when I searched staff pad. 

 My iPad has died and I am considering jumping ship to a surface pro 

 I would just like to know If there is any news on the stylus  front?

I contacted StaffPad  and they  said  that chord symbols will be in the next update. They also mentioned a few things that aren’t entirely clear from the website. Like for instance there is no way to extract parts from the score. I assume that means files need to be exported into another program  for part extraction  and that would mean a good portion of finale users .

 Is there a staff pad users group or in the last two years has an iOS  app besides Notion come onto the scene? 

 

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As far as extraction goes, most people now use Linked Parts anyway, but my version of Finale (v26) still allows one to extract parts if Linked Parts do not meet a user's need.

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Re: Robert Rawlings

Two possibilities that I can think of for iOS notation are, currently Notion iOS and Symphony Pro 5. I use both to bring together my iPad Pro workflow and my macOS/Finale workflow.

As far as Finale on iOS I’m guessing the closest thing to that happening now might be Apple’s Project Marzipan which will allow developers to code once and roll out for both MacOS and iOS environments. You can read about this by searching Google. Here’s a link for you though. https://www.google.com/amp/s/appleinsider.com/articles/19/02/20/apple-considering-wwdc-mac-pro-reveal-expansion-of-project-marzipan/amp/

Steve Steele

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 Thank you Steven

 I would love to know more about how you use those two apps. Have you blogged Or posted any video of your techniques?

Are you using the Apple Pencil? 

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This is an old discussion now, but it is still relevant.

Here is the reality though.

Makemusic is never ever going to care about developing an iOS version. That ship has sailed, and the management team has really missed an incredible opportunity that they will regret for ever. What an incredible market this would have been. 

Instead they have their hands full bringing their Finale version into the 21 century. Finale is incredibly outdated. Each update is lightyears behind the current state of what computers can do.

Lets face it, notation programs on professional computers should be able to do so much more.

Finale is an old school program. It is designed for professional music engravers.  

There is also the problem of backwards compatibility. Longtime users have files that are very old.

I would prefer them rewriting there flagship software. For example, the way chord symbols are designed and handled in Finale is terrible. I could start a list of 100 things that needed to be improved. 

Now imagine they focus on making a compatible iOS version. It would just slow them down even more when it comes to improving Finale.

 

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Your insights are spot on, Thomas. It’s a pity. I wish there was more to say, but I don’t think there is.

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This is truly ridiculous that a company the size of MakeMusic can’t come up with a way to build an iPad app. If they don’t have the money they could try a fundraising round–I’m sure plenty of us would help. If they don’t have a programmer capable enough, I’m sure we could help them find someone. I think it boils down to them thinking they know best what their customers need and being too arrogant to listen. They’ve got all they need with the desktop version and don’t really care what the rest of us might need. Probably not enough of a market in their eyes. It’s a real bummer. I’ve been using Finale since 2003 and wished they would understand that there’s a lot of us that aren’t still living in the desktop age. They’re going to find themselves slowly becoming obsolete.

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What Thomas is saying above is so true. MakeMusic is still living in the last century. Even their latest desktop version is incredibly outdated. I think they have a stodgy customer base of music teachers/professors that keep them in business so they don’t really feel the need to innovate anymore. Sad.

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Many of us are concerned for Finale’s future. The lack of an iOS app is less of a concern (to me) than the failure to update and make long-promised fixes to the desktop version.

 

And in the meantime, there is Notion for iOS, which works very well, and can import and export XML via Dropbox.

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I hope they will catch up. I'm afraid when Dorico implements rewire I'll jump.

Do really like Finale though :-)

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Josiah,

 

Stodgy old professors wouldn't be upgrading, definitely not a way for Finale to expand their business.

 

I think it's a mistake to start speculating on Finale's user base. It does not make MakeMusic more likely to do what you want, and it can alienate fellow users of the product either by inclusion or omission.

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I was one of the first commenters on this thread three years ago, and I've been thinking about the topic off and on ever since. Note: The following is a combination of my own ideas and verbiage taken from an old article at techdirt.com

It's easy to go to the classic analogy of the buggy whip makers as an example of an industry put out of business due to a changing marketplace. But many (including me) often miss the point. It's not that companies can't or won't adapt to a changing world; it's that they're held back by their legacy business.

The following quote from the techdirt article referenced above resonates with me when I think about the current incarnation of Finale. 

The story of William Durant—who founded both General Motors
and Chevrolet—is instructive. He worked for a carriage maker,
and was one who spoke out against cars as being "smelly, noisy
and dangerous." But when he realized that the world was moving
towards them, and that his current company wouldn't be able to
adapt due to legacy issues, he jumped ship to Buick. 

It seems to me that MakeMusic is singularly focused on refining, polishing, and improving Finale as it is now to take care of their legacy business, not because they think mobile computing doesn't matter, but because they think serving the current customer base is good enough to keep them in business.

I don't pretend to know all—even most—of the factors driving MakeMusic's decision making. But I fear that, if they don't begin to take mobile computing seriously, many of us will follow Durant's example and jump ship when software that meets our needs more ably than Finale hits the marketplace.

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Simply moving Finale to an iPad or other tablet would simply be (wasting development time?) transferring its legacy approach to another screen; it would not modernize the program.

 

Even Dorico has no current agenda to move to a tablet version, in their case because the program is still growing.

 

Finale's primary concern is or should be to develop their current technology so they are not held back by legacy tech. Perhaps they should be developing a new notation program approach behind the scenes. Perhaps they are.

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What Adrian said.

 

Updating the code and fixing the problems should be paramount. I cannot imagine any new "feature" being more important than fixing the old ones.

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I agree, Adrian. It’s time to start from scratch and say something like, “People want to notate music. What’s the best way to do that with the digital tools that most people are using today?” 

Yes, there is a lot left out of that question. It’s not nuanced, etc. But the premise is good, I think. 

Pixar does this on a regular basis, by the way. If a character doesn’t feel right, the team from producers and directors all the way down to the CG animators will decide to scrap what they’ve done, even if it means delays and great expense. Take Toy Story 1, for example. Pixar’s first Woody was a sarcastic, mean-spirited jerk who softened as the movie progressed. 

Can a company like MakeMusic take that kind of risk? Who knows? But you’re right, Adrian. MM needs to summon the courage to devote some resources to whatever will be the successor to Finale. Their choices are simple. Do it in-house or watch from the sidelines as a different company does it.

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"What’s the best way to do that with the digital tools that most people are using today?”

 

For me, the tool that I use is a Macbook Pro. I have an iPad Pro, but could not fathom using it for Finale. I prefer to find the software that I need, and get hardware that will run that software. Not the other way around.

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I hope no one thought that my original post on this topic was suggesting that MakeMusic slap together some buggy port of desktop Finale to iOS. Certainly not.

I wanted to see fresh new code base for a simplified Finale iOS that could possibly be reused later as the basis to modernize desktop Finale. In terms of functionality, I proposed something akin to the relationship that Cubasis has with Cubase or, again, Notion iOS has with Notion. In other words, I wanted an iOS app that resembled Finale, but focused on basic needs, (like note entry, editing layers, playback, and could completely read and write the Finale musx file format. MusicXML headaches!!

I’ve been using Notion iOS as my mobile daily now for five years. I bang out lead sheets, create SATB chorales and species counterpoint exercises for my students, and I sketch orchestral cues that I later mockup on my desktop.

But the good news is that there are a couple of promising developments in the iOS notation world. I can’t say much due to NDAs, but there are a couple of quality apps available that, while not directly compatible with Finale, are quite capable for most tasks as long as you don’t expect them to replace desktop Finale.

One is Notion iOS, obviously. For the uses I mentioned, it’s great really. With the power of the A12x based iPad Pros and improvements in iOS 13 it handles most basic tasks just fine. I recently put out a video that offers tips for fast note entry when using the Apple Pencil. https://youtu.be/oArF127Gsvg

The other is Symphony Pro 6. This app has really come a long way. It’s now quite capable, and is deeper than it seems at first glance. It now supports Audiobus. It also supports the Apple Pencil, MIDI keyboard and guitar input and a lot more. I use SP6 a lot too and will be making a series of videos about it and how I fit the iPad into my overall composing workflow soon.

Regards,
Steve Steele

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Honestly, I’d love to be able to put music in on the laptop, but be able to use my iPad for playback. I’m a church musician, and play in smaller churches where there isn’t always an organist. I put hymns into Finale, then either sing or play the violin. Would be great to not have to schlep the laptop to church. 

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I think the iPad Pro is approaching what I'll call "Finale Viability," for lack of a better term, if it hasn't already arrived there.

I recently purchased Apple's Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro. The trackpad is amazing. I now feel that there's almost no difference between the iPad Pro and any Apple laptop. 

Add to this Apple's announcement at WWDC this week that it's moving to ARM processors for Macs, and it's becoming harder and harder to see why Finale would need to be dumbed down for iOS. 

Even though Apple is adamant about keeping iOS and macOS separate (a topic for a different thread), they're touting the ability to write once deploy everywhere across their product line. 

To me, this makes the title of this thread more relevant than ever: "Finale iOS for iPad Pro is needed. It's time!" 

It's not only more relevant than ever; it's now more feasible than ever as well.

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