Connect the iPad 2 and a USB flash drive

It’s quite easy to transfer photos to an iPad from a USB flash drive, as long as you “trick” the iPad into thinking it’s a camera. Here’s how.

I wanted to move a number of photos to my iPad from a Mac other than the one it syncs to. An iTunes sync would replace what’s on the iPad, so that wouldn’t work. I could have emailed the photos, but figured there had to be another way.

I connected a USB flash drive to the Mac and dragged several photos onto it. Next I connected the drive to my iPad Camera Connection Kit and finally plugged the lot into the iPad.

Nothing. The iPad read the drive (its light was blinking) but ignored the photos. So I plugged the drive back into the Mac, created a new folder on it named “DCIM,” put the photos inside and then re-connected it to the iPad.

That did it. The Photos app launched and offered to import the photos. [1. You can use this trick anytime you want to quickly move photos without taking the time for a full iTunes sync.] One caveat: the iPad refused to recognize my 8 GB flash drive, noting that it required more power than was available to operate. It was an old, 64 MB drive that worked.

For more fun with the iPad Camera Connection Kit:

iPad Camera Connection Kit and GarageBand

The more I play with the iPad Camera Connection Kit, the more I realize what a little chunk of magic it is. Tonight I’ve used it to connect a Blue Snowball mic to the iPad 2 for audio recording with GarageBand. The iPad recognized the mic instantly and made it available in GarageBand. Below is a brief test recording.

Recorded in GarageBand for iPad with a Blue Snowball mic and iPad Camera Connection Kit.

While hardly a professional rig, I can see using this setup to record audio on location with minimal fuss. In fact, the mic is the largest piece of equipment. You say you want a simple way to record an episode of your podcast at the local pub? Here it is (and much cheaper than mic + laptop).

For more fun with the iPad Camera Connection Kit:


Use an iPad 2 with an ADB keyboard


This week I’ve been thinking about using my beloved Apple Extended Keyboard with my iPad. I bought an iPad Camera Connection Kit, hoping it would work with my Griffin iMate. I’m pleased to report that, despite a complaint from the iPad about an “unsupported USB device,” it worked perfectly.

Use an ADB keyboard with an iPad 2 from Dave Caolo on Vimeo.

The video above shows exactly how I put it together, plus a minute of me typing in Notes on the iPad with my old Apple Extended Keyboard. The hardware I used:

  1. Apple Extended Keyboard
  2. ADB cable
  3. Griffin iMate
  4. Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit
  5. Apple iPad Dock
  6. iPad 2 (it also worked with an original iPad)

Nirvana. Plus the sight of the sleek iPad behind that battleship of a keyboard is hilarious.

For more fun with the iPad Camera Connection Kit:


Mail on iPad 2 is impressive

I’ve had my iPad 2 for less than a week but already I’m impressed. The first thing I tested was batch-selecting email messages. It’s smooth and beautiful.

On the original iPad, it was a jumpy affair. To try it out, open Mail and then tap the Edit button on the left-hand side while in landscape orientation [1. While in portrait orientation, first tap Inbox to produce the list of messages in your inbox. Next, tap Edit.]. Next, begin tapping messages you’d like to delete. Each one slides onto the “pile” at right.

Performing this action with a full inbox (I’ve set the maximum to 50 messages) on my original iPad was a herky-jerky affair. The iPad 2, however, has no problem at all, stacking messages smoothly and quickly. The real pleasure is that I’m no longer concentrating on Mail’s UI and am simply working with email. As I should be.

What to do with your old iPad

There’s a nice post up at Macworld about what to do with your old iPad. Lex Friedman does a great job describing options for selling it, giving it away and using the iPad as a dedicated reader, photo browser, etc.

I’ll offer only one suggestion: continue to use it as you ever have. Or get it into the hands of someone who will. The original iPad is still [1. It’s funny to say “still” as the original iPad is only 11 months old.] a fantastic machine that will continue to engage and delight its user(s) for a long time.

iPads everywhere

Don’t look now, but the iPads are multiplying like Irish Catholics. Apple’s famously simple hardware product line has gotten crowded as Verizon and the white iPad 2 join the line up. Last week, there were six iPad models to choose from:

Three Wi-Fi models (16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB) and three 3G models (16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB). As of March 12, a dozen additional iPad models will be available, bringing the full lineup to 18 models of iPads:

Six Wi-Fi models, six Wi-Fi plus AT&T models and six Wi-Fi plus Verizon models. Not confusing for nerds like you and me, but I can tell you this pile will give shoppers like my mom pause. I also wonder about Apple’s ability to maintain stock across all 18 models.

Steve Jobs on the iPad 2

Here’s the money quote from today’s iPad 2 announcement. Steve Jobs:

“This is worth repeating. It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough. It’s tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC. More intuitive.”

You won’t find a better explanation of Apple’s advantage in this market.

When iPad 2 ships, what happens to iPad 1?

Rumors suggest that iPad 2 will ship in April.[2. Edited for accuracy. Thanks to Alex Brooks.] When it finally does, it will be interesting to see what happens to the original model. Will it cost less or simply go away?

I’m inclined to think Apple will phase it out. Assuming that the cost of production is largely the same, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room on the price. By observing the cost of early Android tablets, we can conclude that the existing iPad price is very aggressive, leaving little room for a drop even a year on.

As for the next-generation iPad, I suspect this upgrade will be modest, leaving Apple to concentrate on a slick case re-design for 2012. Apple will probably keep the visuals the same so that those who bought in the second half of 2010 feel less aggrieved. [2. Though, honestly, Apple doesn’t really give a shit if you are aggrieved.] Let engineering iterate for a year while working on something much bigger for the next year.

The screen size will probably stay the same. DigiTimes, whose track record is respectable, has reportedly identified the backlight unit manufacturer for the next-generation iPad. If that’s true, you can forget an OLED display on the iPad 2. I do believe there will be a modest jump in resolution, possibly to 1440 x 900 or 1600 x 1200. But forget a retina display, as an iPad with a pixel density of 326 PPI would require a screen resolution at or around 2560 x 1920 — nearly 5,000,000 pixels. Just powering such a thing would be all but impossible.

The CPU will also get a modest bump, the RAM will be increased and a front-facing camera will be added (that’s pretty much a given). Add a bit more battery life and I suspect that’s it. In short, I think the transition from the original iPad to its successor will mimic the transition from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS, rather than the 2G to the 3G or the 3GS to the iPhone 4.