Apple Introduces GarageBand, iMovie and Photo Booth for iPad

Looking for more ways to use your iPad (s aapl) creatively? Apple just made it easy with three new apps it revealed at this morning’s special iPad-themed press event. GarageBand, iMovie and Photo Booth are all headed to Apple’s tablet in time for iPad 2’s availability next week.

Photo Booth (Free, built-in)

This is obviously an iPad 2 exclusive, since the only reason it exists is to take advantage of the iPad’s new front-facing VGA camera. Like the Mac app of the same name, the iPad version of Photo Booth lets you take photos of yourself (and whoever else happens to be in frame) and then lets you manipulate the pics using a variety of special effects, such as color and distortion filters. According to Apple’s official site, the app only seems to works with the front-facing camera (although the sample screens it provides show camera switch icons), which seems an oddly unnecessary limitation, and flashes the entire screen white before it takes a photo to act as a flash. Once you’re happy with your bizarre self-portraits, you can share them via Mail or access them via your on-device photo library.

iMovie ($4.99)

The new iMovie app is universal, meaning it will replace the existing version on the iPhone 4. It brings more advanced editing tools and introduces a screen layout very similar to the one found in the OS X version, with your film’s timeline on the bottom, and a clip library on top. You can pinch any transition to reveal a more detailed Precision Editor in the timeline, allowing a clear view of where clips overlap and making it easier to make fine adjustments with your fingers.

New themes make it easy to add flair to your projects without any heavy lifting, and Apple includes a CNN iReport (s twx) theme that provides a branded way to add a degree of authenticity to your homemade breaking news reports. Themes include titles, transitions and soundtrack elements, so they really act as one-stop shopping.

The new iMovie adds some more versatile audio-editing tools, including the ability to add sound effects from a built-in library, visual soundtrack timeline management, and narration or voice-over recording right in the app.

Once you’ve got everything just right, there are a bunch of new sharing tools, too. Post your video direction to YouTube (s goog), Facebook, Vimeo or CNN iReport (Apple certainly is buddying up with CNN with this one). You can also share via email, MobileMe or MMS (on iPhone only) once you’ve exported the movie to your on-device camera roll. Movie playback directly to Apple TV via AirPlay is also supported, or by mirroring with the new digital AV HDMI adapter from iPad 2 to a cable-connected TV.

GarageBand ($4.99)

I love music, but am hopeless when it comes to playing an instrument or learning how to make any myself. Even auto-tuned, I sound terrible. But GarageBand for the iPad looks like it might let even someone like me come up with something worthwhile.

The app boasts Touch Instruments, which are virtual recreations of real life drum kits, pianos, organs and guitars that you can manipulate in various ways with multi-touch gestures. Depending on how hard, and where, you hit the virtual keys, cymbals or chords you can produce different sounds, since the app uses the iPad’s accelerometer and other technologies to distinguish between different types of interaction.

If that sounds like it still requires too much skill, then Smart Instruments are for you. These are like the auto-tune of guitar, keyboards, bass and drums. You can easily strum perfect chords on a guitar, set up and trigger complicated finger picking, or try visually arranging drum beats in a way that makes playing more like solving a puzzle than coming up with something original.

The iPad GarageBand also a includes a full-featured, eight-track recording studio that lets you zoom in and fine-tune each track. Jobs was quick to point out that this wasn’t a toy, but could was in fact perfectly suited for professional use, too. Apple loves its creative pros, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing as it moves its focus to mobile.

Which of these are you most looking forward to? I couldn’t care less about Photo Booth, but the other two both sound equally appealing.

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