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iPad USB Camera Adapter Supports Audio Headsets, Too

The iPad Camera Connection Kit has a trick up its sleeve: it handles audio, too, via the USB adapter. Plug in a set of USB headphones or a headset that requires no drivers on a Mac – most use a standard audio profile – and the iPad handles the audio output and/or input properly.

The iPad lacks any visual indicator that audio has been moved over to the USB connector, nor does it offer any controls I can find to choose whether the internal mic and speakers or a USB device will be used.

I tested a Skype call with a USB headset, and the quality was just terrific. This make the iPad even more viable for phone calls, eliminating the need for a Bluetooth headset that requires separate charging and pairing.

The combination of headset, USB connector, and iPad is a little ungainly, but completely workable.

Some readers have also tested using USB microphones and powered USB speakers, and they work, too.

Of course, you can always use the actual audio jack at the top of an iPad with headphones, earphones, and headsets. The compact $29 iPhone Stereo Headset includes a decent mic and earphones. Bluetooth earpieces, headphones, and headsets also work with the iPad. And the built-in mic and speakers on the iPad when used with Skype or other audio chat programs make it into something better than most speakerphones I’ve used.

But I sometimes prefer a full ear headset and a positionable mic for the best sound quality without worrying about charging a Bluetooth device’s batteries.

For a review of the connection kit’s primary picture-related features, see “iPad Camera Connection Kit Works Simply and Well” (22 April 2010).

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