Charge Your iPad While Using USB Devices

lighting-camera-connection-kitApple has introduced the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, a new accessory that may interest musicians using iPads for music making.

The Adapter lets you power your device, while you connect USB peripherals like hubs, Ethernet adapters, audio/MIDI interfaces, and card readers for CompactFlash, SD and microSD.

Compatible models include:

  • iPad with Retina display
  • iPad mini
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch)

The Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter is available for US $39.

36 thoughts on “Charge Your iPad While Using USB Devices

  1. It’s about f’ing time. Sheeesh!! Oh well. At least it is finally available. Now finally you can use your iPad as if it is a weak laptop with a touchscreen.

      1. You’re absolutely right. I was just making a cheeky point that in terms of hardware & horsepower, an iPad still only does a fraction of what a laptop can do. So for portable music making, the laptop is still the boss. But yes, absolutely, much cheaper (and arguably friendlier) software for iPad, and much more portability.

        1. > …in terms of hardware & horsepower, an iPad still only does a fraction of what a laptop can do. So for portable music making, the laptop is still the boss.

          Horses for courses and all that, of course, but processing power isn’t the only factor in ‘portable music making’. Not trying to argue (I got the cheek in your initial comment before reading your reply!), just counter point. There is no ableton or Max on iOS and if that’s important to you, laptop is the way. But there’s also no TC-11 or Thumbjam on a laptop. Just saying.

    1. Or you can use a Windows Surface as an expensive laptop with lousy touchscreen software. 🙂

      The reality is that we are in the middle of a transition from powerful desktop computers to powerful mobile computers, and we’re not there yet.

      We can argue about whether the Windows or iOS approach makes more sense for musicians, but it’s pretty clear that both options can work, and that the Android platform only makes sense for people that aren’t that interested in mobile music making.

  2. I don’t understand what’s new comparing to the current Lightning to USB Camera Adapter.
    I was precisely about to buy one, to plug my Alesis Q25 keyboard.

    What’s better on this new model ?

    1. The previous model only had a USB port on one side and a ligntning male lpug on the other. This one has a USB plus a lightning on one side so you can plug you controller + the charger cable. On the other side there is a lightning male plug for your iPad

    1. What this camera connection kit allows you to do is BOTH connect your charger (that came with the iPad) AND connect a USB device. You can think of it has a “splitter” which takes the lightning port and splits the functions of data and power into two ports.

      With the previous CCK, the iPad would often warn you that the device is drawing too much power. I wonder if the iPad can provide more USB power while charging.

      1. I think it was mentioned that this will also supply the USB devices with power, the way a powered hub does.

  3. I wonder if one can use a 30-pin to lightning adapter, to make it work with older iPads (like my iPad2).
    Clumsy, but I would still consider it.

  4. just like the video adapters
    vga and hdmi
    i have both

    only 10 dollars more than cck

    wonder if the make a super breakout box like allot of laptops already have??

    1. > just like the video adapters
      > vga and hdmi
      > i have both

      Think this is the crux of the story for Synthtopia readers. This isn’t a new class of interface from Apple but it is, seemingly, Apple realizing that people using USB devices connected to the their iOS devices want to keep it charged as well. Apple sees us? zomg. I reckon originally they were thinking ‘people will use the “Camera Connection Kit” to do quick dumps and get back on regular power. Then, NanoStudio and NLOG happened and here we are. 🙂

      1. The fact that this is a ‘camera adapter’ is telling.

        Musicians are a niche, we’re lucky that at least there’s solution with iOS devices.

    1. Adam, I’m using a Puc Connect, which sets up a wi-fi connection and leaves the charging port available on my 5C.

  5. Great stuff. I use iConnect midi 2 + and it crashes endlessly and is a PIA. Can this Apple device pass the audio thru?

    1. Not likely. However, for simple audio and MIDI passthrough to your laptop, you can use a standard USB-lightning cable and an app like MusicIO or StudioMux. If you have a high-power USB port, it should also charge the iOS device (slowly.)

  6. Bummer news… Just heard that, unlike the big iPad Pro w/ 4GB RAM and USB 3 transfer speed, the new 9.7 iPad Pro has just 2GB RAM and USB 2 transfer speed. Classic Apple two steps back.

    1. How exactly is this two steps back from the model it upgrades, the iPad Air 2?

      Apple added some of the features from the 12″ pro (support for pencil and smart keyboard) but it’s not surprising that the flagship maxi-iPad still has some features to recommend it besides the larger screen and better speakers.

  7. I’m excited about this and ordered one immediately so thanks for the post.
    What is the big deal?
    Now we have choices. Of the many USB midi/audio interfaces on the market only a few can power the iOS device while in use. The $600 Apogee Duet has been my choice, but lately for whatever reason is flaking out on iOS. It works perfectly on my desktop Mac though. Now I will use my USBPre 2 with a USB hub and multiple USB controllers or synths. All wired and powered.

    Yes, of course a laptop is much more powerful but there is something appealing to me about creating music on the iPad Pro. It’s simpler and more intimate. I’m less IT manager and more musician.

    It is time for instrument manufacturers to get serious about iOS as a music platform and design professional controllers specifically for iOS instead of the little (fun) toys they sell.

    1. Can you use your Apogee duet with the apple usb3 cck? I’m wondering if my apogee one will work wit it so i can plug in additional usb midi devices, and still use the apogee one for sound and charge my ipad.. Cheers

  8. The long nightmare is finally over!! 😀

    Apple’s HDMI adapter has always had power passthrough, but the USB “camera” (aka USB MIDI, mic, audio, etc.) adapter omitted it, for reasons Cupertino only knows.

  9. Unfortunately, it can only charge with the new iPad Pro line (double sided lightning connector instead of one sided – all other iPad and ipad mini line). Go try it for yourself, you’ll be pretty disapointed.

  10. With this Apple device, Is it possible to connect audio interface(iRig HD) via lighting port and charge iPad via USB port simultaneously?

  11. A little late but… Anyway, this connector works great: iPad Air, with a Novation Launchkey Mini attached, and several synth & FX apps open in Audiobus, and no battery worries at all. Well pleased.

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