Android may be catching up fast, but it was the iPad that made the tablet a must-have piece of kit for any self-respecting gadget aficionado. For the while, at least, the iPad continues to lead the charge and, though its games, web browsing and playing about on Facebook and\u00a0Twitter are as popular as ever; it's also managed to infiltrate the music industry. We're not just talking about the fact\u00a0that the tablet can house your entire iTunes music library. It's also fast becoming a useful tool for\u00a0musical types, both professional and amateur.The most high-profile use of Apple's tablet by a pro musician so far involves the latest album from ex-Blur\u00a0frontman Damon Albarn's hip-hop project Gorillaz, which was created largely on his iPad during a 32-day\u00a0tour of North America. The album uses real instruments and vocals combined with a good helping of\u00a0synthesizers with Albarn making use of around 20 apps including Korg iELECTRIBE, Moog Filatron and\u00a0FunkBox Drum Machine. It perfectly illustrates the convenience of being able to lay down tracks on a\u00a0device, while on the move, with no access to a desktop computer or studio.Convenience and portability are obviously two great benefits, especially, as with Albarn, plenty of musicians spend a great deal of time on the road; however the bonus of using a tablet goes further than that, as accessory brand Griffin's PR director, Jackie Ballinger, told us."Technology, like the iPad enables musicians to become mobile without losing quality, now people are able\u00a0to make music anywhere without limitations and without substantial costs."With the iPad and relevant apps a less costly alternative to recording studios and instruments, aspiring musicians have the opportunity to produce professional recording using solely these means."Money appears to be one of the most important factors - not exactly shocking when you consider the huge\u00a0cost involved in putting an album together. If an artist can record an album for less, then why not?The cost\u00a0of producing a chart album is estimated to be a whopping \u00a3250,000, so it's hardly surprising that musicians\u00a0are opting for a more affordable route, especially those who don't have a record deal and are producing the work themselves. Two-piece US indie band The Ultramods managed\u00a0to produce an entire album (entitled Underwear Party) in just 2 weeks, only using GarageBand for iPad.\u00a0While there are plenty of music apps available for the iPad, it's been Apple's own GarageBand that really\u00a0brought the idea of the iPad as a musical tool into the mainstream. Currently the top-selling paid-for music\u00a0app on the iTunes store, GarageBand is a bargain at just \u00a32.99 and enables you to lay down multiple tracks\u00a0using a variety of virtual instruments, as well as recording vocals using the built-in microphone. With US\u00a0iPad prices starting at $499, along with the $4.99 for the GarageBand, that puts the basic cost of The\u00a0Ultramods's\u00a0album production at just under $505. The equivalent in the UK would be \u00a3399 for the iPad and\u00a0\u00a32.99 for the app - \u00a3401.99 in total, less than a five-hundredth of the cost of the pro route.Although GarageBand for iPad has yet to be widely used by any other big-name bands in the music world (no offence to The\u00a0Ultramods), it certainly seems to be making headway. Marillion keyboard player and CEO of the Featured\u00a0Artists Coalition, Mark Kelly, recently told Pocket-lint in an exclusive interview:"I love using GarageBand on the iPad - it's fantastic. You can touch a key and slide your finger up and it'll\u00a0bend the note up and you can do that with two different fingers on two notes at the same time and move\u00a0them at different intervals, which is something you cannot do on anything else and it sounds great. I've\u00a0never heard anything like it before. I'll definitely be using that on our next album."It's not just guitars, keyboards and drums that have made their way onto Apple's tablet. There are plenty of\u00a0quirky digital instruments that have also been ported across. Yamaha's unusual and somewhat baffling\u00a0Tenori-on - famously used by electro-pop songstress Little Boots - has also been given the iPad treatment. This space-age electronic instrument\u00a0features a grid of 256 LED switches that can be used to produce tunes by controlling the time and pitch of\u00a0the sounds made by each button. The iPad version uses much the same system and is even a similar size\u00a0to the original instrumentOther quirky instruments that have been ported across to the iPad include the Haken Continuum Fingerboard, a MIDI instrument used on stage by prog rocker and keyboardist Jordan Rudess, which can be\u00a0used on the tablet courtesy of the MorphWiz app; while experimental musicians can also get their hands on\u00a0an iPad version of Reactable - the weird, electric blue touchscreen tabletop instrument that Bjork used on her Volta tour\u00a0(also now available for Android).Part of the appeal here is that you can not only access multiple instruments on one device, but also use gear\u00a0that many of us wouldn't be able to afford. While most of us could stretch to a cheap keyboard\u00a0or guitar, it's unlikely that many could shell out the \u20ac9,700 asking price for the real Reactable\u00a0experience (which works out at just under \u00a38,500). The fact that most of these apps cost less than 20\u00a0quid make them a great option for opening up the world of music to those that don't have a bottomless pit of cash. But, the iPad music revolution doesn't begin and end with apps. Apple's touchscreen device\u00a0has also spawned plenty of accessories.Accessory maker Griffin is perhaps the most well-known brand when it comes to music-based add-ons for the iPad. The US company produces several iPad-flavoured products including the Griffin GuitarConnect, which can be used to plug your guitar into your Apple tablet or phone. With the help of the iShred Live app, this\u00a0nifty little lead effectively turns your iDevice into a mini guitar rig. Griffin also produces the StompBox which\u00a0can be used with the same app as a controller for the virtual onscreen pedals, while the Mic Stand Mount\u00a0enables you to attach your iPad to any standard microphone stand and the DJ Cable works in\u00a0conjunction with the Djay app.Griffin isn't the only brand to make full use of the iPad's popularity among musicians. Samson Tech\u00a0produces the Meteor Mic - a plug and play USB studio microphone that can be teamed with your laptop or\u00a0iPad. While using 21st century technology, the product has been designed to look like an old-fashioned chrome mic,\u00a0albeit with an integrated folding tripod that allows for flexible positioning. So, there's no need for a separate\u00a0microphone stand. The company told us:"Musical iPad accessories are proving to be enormously popular. They open up professional recording and\u00a0mixing abilities to casual musicians and talented artists that might not have had access to the equipment\u00a0they needed. People can produce entire studio-quality albums with an iPad and a Meteor Mic."So, although costs can theoretically be reduced by doing things on the cheap with an iPad, is this really the way\u00a0forward for the music industry? While the Gorillaz album was largely created using an Apple tablet, it was still mixed and mastered at the famous Abbey Road Studios. So, it can't fully replace the musical wizardry offered by a professional studio. Taking one step back though, could the iPad and these\u00a0musical apps ever become at least commonplace among the professionals?\u00a0Samson Tech told us:"The technology and acoustics behind studio recording will always\u00a0outperform an iPad.\u00a0The apps are more likely to become the norm among DJs rather than straight musicians. Recording studios will always be preferred, but for a\u00a0musician on a budget, the iPad makes perfect sense."So, while tablets may be the future of music for some\u00a0cash-strapped musicians who are trying to put together an album on a shoestring budget, it seems that they're unlikely to take over from the\u00a0professional studio approach anytime soon, if ever. So, what can we expect to see next?While there are books of musical notation and guitar tablature available - including individual songs - in\u00a0the books section of iTunes, it seems strange that this is an area that Apple has, so far, not fully exploited. Muzibook offers free PDFs that can be read using iBooks or compatible sheet reader music apps, but the Cupertino powerhouse has yet to launch its own sheet music service.We wouldn't be surprised if Apple was to introduce a separate sheet music section to the iTunes store at some point, purely because\u00a0of the iPad's increasing popularity among musicians and the fact that it's so well suited to carrying a\u00a0selection of digital sheet music around without the need for reams of paper. Develop an app that could listen to what you're playing and "turn the pages" for you, and we could be seeing tablets on music stands everywhere.We would also expect to see more accessories like the StompBox and the Meteor Mic launching, and\u00a0maybe we might even start to see licensed products from music brands such as guitar experts Fender and\u00a0Gibson or drum maker Pearl. Whatever happens next, it seems likely that the iPad will continue to take the\u00a0music world by storm as an ever-increasing array of blindingly good apps continue to emerge.Do you use your iPad for making music? Let us know in the comments box below.