While I’m waiting for my Incase Origami Workstation to arrive, a few nights ago I wanted to try something with my iPad. Admittedly, the inspiration behind my attempt comes from this article by Ben Brooks. Like Ben, I found the combination of iPad + a mechanical keyboard to be quite lovely. Having a good deal of old Apple mechanical keyboards, I wanted to try to come up with a similar setup, just for fun.
Time ago, I had tried connecting to my iPad the blueberry Apple USB Keyboard that came with the first iMac in 1998, by using the Camera Connection Kit accessory, but it didn’t work. The iPad complained that the device was not recognised, and indeed, typing had no effect.
So when the other night I assembled the contraption you see above, I really had no hopes it would work. As you can see, the parts involved are:
- A third-generation iPad
- The Camera Connection Kit for iPad
- An iMate ADB-to-USB adapter
- An ADB Apple Standard Keyboard M0116 introduced in 1987
As soon as the connection was established, I was surprised that iOS recognised and identified the iMate adapter — but it also gave the Device not supported warning. But the fact that the virtual keyboard wasn’t appearing when invoked gave me hope. I opened a text editor app (in this case the great Daedalus Touch by The Soulmen) and the keyboard was recognised right away. Once I got the layout right (I had to shift to English US), every key, modifier, and symbol were recognised correctly.
I won’t be using this setup when I’m out an about — it’s a bit cumbersome to carry around — but the experience felt really great, to the point that I ended up writing an article right there and then!