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Dear Aunt TUAW: Can I use a USB keyboard or headset with my iPad?


Dear Aunt TUAW,

I love my new iPad and I plan to use it for some heavy duty writing. But I'd rather not fork out all the money that Apple is asking for a Bluetooth external keyboard [or a keyboard dock]. Do you know of any workaround? Is there a way, maybe, to use a standard USB keyboard with the iPad? Thanks for letting me know.

Love & Kissies,
Your Nephew [Name Withheld]

My darling nephew,

Although you can pick up an inexpensive second-hand Bluetooth keyboard on eBay (I recently spent about $40 on my new-to-me Think Outside Stowaway unit), there is a glimmer of hope on the USB keyboard horizon.

TUAW just received a tip from reader Jonathan, who is playing with his new Camera Connection Kit. (Auntie's is still on the way, I'm afraid.) He tells us he was able to successfully connect a USB keyboard and type directly on his iPad. He also reports that the kit allows users to import photos directly from their iPhones, as was expected and specified.

It's also worth noting that Glenn Fleischman at TidBITS has just reported that a standard USB audio headset works for output and input to the iPad via the Camera Connection Kit; he was able to use the Skype app for a call via this setup, with excellent quality.

So far this is the first Auntie's heard about the keyboard and audio support via the Camera Connection Kit -- she suspects that these features may not be 'officially supported' -- but if these developments pan out you can likely carry along the USB connection cable from the kit and any folding keyboard or audio headset you already have around the house! Just be aware that there isn't a huge difference in price between USB and Bluetooth foldable these days, so if you have to buy, you might as well go straight for the Bluetooth solution.

Sending you keyboard hugs and USB snuggles,

Auntie T.

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