We started off with the easiest option—the Apple Wireless Keyboard—and then I covered one of the best options (I think)—the ZAGG keyboard—and just to be thorough, I’m going to talk about, well, another option that is…interesting. It’s using the Camera Connector Kit to connect a USB keyboard.
I know what you’re thinking, and, yep, you’re right—this isn’t easy or portable or even elegant. However in a pinch it can work. And when I say can I mean that it might work for you with a keyboard you have on hand and it might not.
So here are the deets on this option. First you need the iPad Camera Connector Kit, specifically the USB connector. Next you need a USB keyboard. And this is where it starts getting hit and miss (and probably a lot of miss). I connected my Apple Extended Keyboard to my iPad like this and…
Now right now you’re probably thinking that I’m going to say: “It’s all Apple so of course it works perfectly…”
I got the ever-so-fun error “this device requires too much power”, which means, no the Apple Extended Keyboard doesn’t work with the iPad. I actually didn’t know if it would or wouldn’t until I tried it and I gave it about 50–50 that it might work.
The next option—and the one I knew worked—was my roll-up keyboard. Yeah it’s ugly. Yeah the key feel is like typing through cold oatmeal. Yeah the iPad throws up a “this device is not supported” error, but it works. Yes, you can “type” on your iPad with this particular keyboard.
Wait, you’re wondering, if it’s so hit and miss (and, again, it’s going to be mostly miss) why even tell us about this at all.
Well, it’s called being thorough. Yeah it’s an option, not a great option, but it’s an option. In fact, I know Glenda Watson Hyatt has used this in the past to type with her iPad. The other reason to cover this one is that there are other devices that do work great with the USB connector. Like the Blue Snowball mic, that works just dandy. The Blue Yeti, not so much (not without a little external power help from a USB hub). The USB adapter wasn’t really intended to work this was, but it can work for some things, some times.
What’s the word on all these keyboard options?
I think the Apple Wireless Keyboard option is a great way to go. Maybe not the most portable of options, but probably the best keyboard you’re going to find. In terms of portability, the ZAGG options are going to win almost every time. I do want to test other keyboard models and if I get a chance to, then I’ll review them as well. There you go. Three ways, over three posts, to type with a “real” keyboard on your iPad.
The iPad Camera Connection Kit gives you two ways to import photos and videos from a digital camera: using your camera's USB cable or directly from an SD card. iPad and the camera connection kit support standard photo formats including JPEG and RAW.
Whether you're a podcaster, musician, or just someone who likes to video chat online, the Snowball iCE can take care of all your audio recording and transmission needs. This versatile USB microphone captures crystal clear audio with HD quality, using a custom condenser capsule with cardioid pattern. The plug-and-play installation makes setup a breeze.
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