Whether it’s the inquisitive nature of computer users as a whole, or simply a desire to get the most out of your purchase, discovery of the undocumented uses for an Apple product is a popular past time. The lack of a documented method to connect an iPhone to a physical keyboard led to development of the BTstack Keyboard application. While this application does allow for the usage of a Bluetooth keyboard with an iPhone, it also requires the iPhone to be jailbroken since its only available in the Cydia store. For the less adventurous iPad user comes the news their newly minted USB Camera Kit comes with some undocumented capabilities.
Tech and gadget news site electronista is reporting interesting camera kit findings from around the web. The first one up is from Apple news site TidBITS. They found connecting USB audio devices that require no special drivers through the camera kit worked perfectly. Using a headset and microphone combination device they placed a Skype call and classified the call quality as “just terrific”. There is no visual indication of connection or disconnection of the device so some testing may be required to find a headset that works and since this is an undocumented feature there is no guarantee every device will.
The second usage comes from TUAW. They’re reporting the kit allows for the connection of a USB keyboard. While the iPad already supports Bluetooth keyboards and has a keyboard dock available for purchase, neither may be a viable option for someone who just spent all their savings buying an iPad. USB keyboards are cheap, plentiful, and most people have two or three floating around their house. While it might take some rigging to fashion a holder that supports the camera connector and USB cord sticking out the bottom of an iPad, it is doable and within the realm of reason.
It’s always nice to find something you didn’t think you had. In this case, it’s nice to know the money you paid for the camera kit will afford you some additional capabilities. I look forward to what will happen as the rest of the hackers and tinkerers in the world get their hands on an iPad and it’s accessories. What additional capabilities or unintended functionality will they uncover? In his anti-iPad manifesto on BoingBoing, Cory Doctrow said the iPad represented a trend that will kill hacking. I think this and other recent examples prove hacking and is alive and well. True, the days of soldering RAM into a motherboard may be a thing of the past. But I ask you, is that such a bad thing?
Do you plan on using these undocumented capabilities with your iPad? Have you found any additional or undocumented features you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section.