By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 10, 2011

Every great Apple product needs an app that shows off its unique features

The 1984 Macintosh had MacPaint. The 2007 iPhone had visual voicemail and Google Maps. The iPhone 4 had FaceTime.

Steve Jobs offered two tent-pole demos last week when he introduced the iPad 2. iMovie was cool, but GarageBand for the iPad is Apple’s (AAPL) new must-have app.

According to a press release issued Thursday, the $4.99 program will be available for download before the end of the day. Meanwhile, the company has posted a slick guided tour here.

UPDATE: GarageBand for iPad and iMovie for iPad are now available for download.

It’s too soon to know whether real musicians will use the app to create great music. Or whether a generation of would-be musicians will use its “smart instruments” and avoid the hard work of learning how to play a real one.

But it does make a killer demo.

GarageBand runs on the original iPad, but it runs better on the iPad 2.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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