Apple’s iPad camera connection kit is finally available in stores and it’s useful for more than just importing photos. With it, you can connect some keyboards and some audio devices such as headsets. But why stop there? What’s stopping you from using the USB adapter to connect a Blue Yeti or other high quality microphone to your iPad and recording CD quality audio? Nothing actually.
I’ll get to the Yeti in a second, but let me first explain the iPad Camera Connection Kit. It’s a two adapter kit from Apple that allows you to connect either an SD card or a camera to your iPad. But when I see a USB port, the last thing I want to use it for is connecting a camera. So, I tried a bunch of other accessories with it. Now, what normally happens is the iPad tells you one either the device is not supported or that it draws too much power. Some accessories still function anyway, like Apple’s long keyboard. And just in case you were wondering, yes, you can connect your iPhone to the iPad and download pictures just as if it were a camera, but not much of anything else (yet?).
Also, don’t expect to connect a few things through a USB hub, as I’ve yet to get one to work. I doubt the iPad would support two USB accessories at once, anyway, and it wouldn’t even be useful for charging since the iPad’s port does not provide much power to anything.
So, you could guess I was pretty surprised when I connected the Blue Yeti to the iPad and saw its mute/live button light up. This was exactly what I was hoping for, though I was expecting it to pop up with one of the two messages I mentioned before. Now, Apple hasn’t yet made a Voice Memos app specifically for iPad, so I had to look somewhere else, which is when I remembered that Blue has their own specialized audio app for iPhone called Blue FiRe. This app is designed for the Blue Mikey mic for iDevices to record at CD quality. This app was perfect for my setup, but would it work? Well, you can hear for yourself by downloading it right here.
Not only did the iPad pass the Yeti USB mic to the iPhone FiRe app, it did so in full stereo when I had the Yeti set to stereo. Again, I’m semi-amazed that Apple would let a feature like this through to consumers without first telling us about it and then how really great it is (plus a few “booms” mixed in there for good measure). This is quite a major feature, especially for mobile musicians or podcasters on the go. The Yeti is still pretty big and the iPad isn’t that much smaller than a laptop, but the point is that it can be done.
Now if only Apple would release Garageband or Logic for iPad…