When musicians first laid eyes on the iPad, they immediately recognized its huge potential as a music-making machine. The versatility of the touchscreen quickly gave rise to a bevy of synths, drum machines, multitrack recording apps and otherworldly, touch-sensitive instruments.
And while making music on the iPad is still mostly about the apps -- Animoog, Korg iElectribe, NodeBeat, GarageBand, Sunrizer, JazzMutant Lemur -- the tablet becomes even more useful if you can plug other stuff into it.
At first, we only had the ability to plug in guitars and microphones to record songs. But now, ever since Apple added support for the CoreMIDI framework to iOS and introduced the Camera Connection Kit, we can plug in a variety of keyboards, drum pads and other hardware to control our apps. Instead of tapping the touchscreen to make a noise, you can play a chord, press a key or twist a knob.
Here's our guide to this season's latest gear for iPad musicians.
In order to use most music-making devices with an iPad, you've got to get one of these. Apple's $30 device (the square-ish white adapter in the photos above and below) essentially turns the iPad's dock connector into a USB port. The company calls it a "Camera Connection Kit" because that's what most consumers are going to use it for. But musicians can use it for much more than holiday snaps. USB keyboards, hardware controllers, preamps, headphones, digital-to-analog converters -- this little dongle is your lifeline to hundreds of audio toys.
Photos by Ariel Zambelich/Wired