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iPad Camera Kit packs USB keyboard, headset support surprise?

The iPad Camera Kit has started showing up in the wild and while its name indicates it's intended use as a way to import digital camera pictures and video into the iPad, it looks like there's some surprise support for USB keyboards and audio headsets along for the ride.

For those unfamiliar with the Camera Kit, it's two small dongles, one of which is an SD/SDHC card reader and the other is a straight-up USB port. It's the latter of the two that's creating the stir.

It sounds like not all UBS keyboards are supported, mind you, just the low-power ones which makes a certain amount of sense given the realities of a portable device. (Apple's own USB keyboard with mini mouse-hub of its own, for example, apparently need not apply).

While there's nothing in the settings to control it, USB headsets seem to be working for Skype calls as well. Frankly, we weren't expecting that but we certainly do welcome it.

Nothing else is working at this point, however. No game controls, external hard drivers, etc.

Now we just need it to work with the iPhone...

[TUAW, TidBITS via Engadget]

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Now that's getting your money's worth!!!!
  • Steve doesn't even have to say "one more thing" anymore, he just let's us discover it
  • That's what I meant when I said it's "Magical".
  • Sad thing is that we even have to plug this giant cube into our fancy new iPads... why the hell aren't these ports on the iPads already
  • Why is Apple so wierd? You'd think they would promote features for their products but they always seem to have functionality that they don't mention or acknowledge it even exists...
  • Why not for the iphone as well? and while we're at it, why are these ports not on the devices anyways?
  • ......"it sounds like not all UBS keyboards are supported, mind you."
    I'm thinking it's USB not UBS. :P
  • Why do I get a sneaky suspicion that an 'update' will crap that functionality out?
  • I'm waiting for the day when Apple presents something new and just opens the box and says "here you go!" No explanation needed, just let us play with it and figure it out.
    Kick Butt
  • I think that GeoHot can come up with something to do with the USB unit. Perhaps we will finally be able to have plug-in controllers if it could work with jailbroken devices.
  • Wait till jailbreakers get to play with this!
    I'm thinking
    XBox Game pads and a USB splitter! (Maybe even my Guitar Hero guitar!) Could make some awesome games using already existing tech
    USB mass storage
    Who knows if they can't get iPhoneOS to play ball I'm pretty certain once Android if ported to the 3GS there's some pretty awesome hardware to play with right there!
  • That's what I am thinking. Maybe there could be some sort of USB to VGA converter that could get worked into it (maybe over bluetooth?).
  • Why should jailbreaking be required to access all the iProducts' capabilities? This is starting to get too Verizon-esque for comfort.
  • There is not enough power available for high power USB devices to work. You can't fix that with a jailbroken device. The power management chips would have to be removed from the iPad.
    We have connected a USB barcode scanner - however the scanner that worked was self powered. The scanner that drew power from the USB port did not work.
    This is why there is no general purpose USB port on the machine - you would all be complaining that your favorite USB device did not work, when it's all about power management.
  • malaytim
    "We have connected a USB barcode scanner – however the scanner that worked was self powered.:"
    what scanner did you use?
  • Malaytim, I'd also like to know the USB barcode scanner that worked.
  • i too would like to know more about a scanner that has worked or will work for reading 2D
  • ajwzfewlwdevxalywue, mattress toppers, GhSmNLSe.