Apple has announced the Apple Design award winner list for 2021. It comes as a proud moment as the list includes an Indian classical musical app. The tech giant announced 12 winners spread across six categories including innovation, visual and graphics, interaction, delight and fun, inclusivity, and social impact. NaadSadhana by Sandeep Ranade has been awarded the Apple Design award 2021 for the innovation category.

In an exclusive conversation with BGR.in, Sandeep Ranade, a Pune-based musician and developer said, “I feel like I just won an Oscar award! It’s a very surreal feeling — I never expected this award in a million years, and for innovation, no less.” This is the second Indian app till now to win the Apple Design award and the first one on Indian classical Music. The first Indian app to win the Apple Design Award back in 2018 was Calzy 3, developed by Chennai based developer Raja Vijayaraman.

Sharing how Apple helped his music app NaadSadhana grow in the last few years, Ranade said, “Apple called me out of the blue because they thought my app was interesting. This was two and a half years ago. They got to know the app and me better and have helped my journey tremendously.”

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He highlighted that Apple connected him to Engineering team and helped improve the design of the NaadSadhana app and the overall user experience. “They (Apple) connected me with Apple Engineering when I had questions or bugs to report, they arranged for interviews with the press.  As a solo developer, there’s no team who can appreciate my work, but Apple not only appreciated my work but also my music. It was a really warm and touching feeling,” Ranade said.

“I also got to attend WWDC 19 and meet with many dozens of Apple teams. I got my questions answered and got valuable feedback on how to make the app even better.”

India’s NaadSadhana app wins Apple Design award

The journey to develop NaadSadhana began after one of the music students faced problems with understanding musical notes when she was practicing alone, Ranade said. “She had no mechanism for course correction when she practiced by herself and what she needed at this point was an app to help guide her notes. But there were no accurate vocal timers on the App Store. So I decided to build one,” Ranade explained. That’s how NaadSadhana was developed.

“Couple of months later, she started using the app, and her score went from a very poor score, to a consistent 80% in two weeks, because the app literally rewired her brain,” the winner of Apple Design award 2021 said. “From there, I started working on other problems of accompaniment, perfecting notes and tempo, studio quality recording, etc.”

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NaadSadhana is an all-in-one, studio-quality music app that helps musicians of all genres and any level of expertise perform and share their music. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and Core ML, NaadSadhana listens as a singer improvises a vocal line, provides instant feedback on the accuracy of notes, and generates a backing track to match. All of this happens in real-time.

In future, Ranade plans to add many more instruments, ragas, taals, genres, styles, intelligences, and capabilities to the app to offer much better experience than now. “It’s really an infinite amount of work left to be done,” he said.

Ranade stated that Apple cutting the App store fee to half has helped a large majority of developers including him to focus just on app developing and nothing beyond. “The entire ecosystem, developer tools, payments processing, app distribution and much more is seamlessly and painlessly taken care of, meaning I can spend most of my time focusing on my work,” the Pune-based developer said.

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