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Camera Connection Kit Hack for iPhone

One of the biggest problems with music apps on iPhone is the lack of Camera Connection Kit support from Apple. This prevents you from using USB devices like MIDI keyboards or a recording interface. A Cydia (Jailbreak) App released today will let you do both!

CameraConnector (available on repository BigBoss for $1) says it only works for HID USB devices, like mice and typing keyboards, but MusicApps.com.br reader Giusoares has got it working with a lot more!

Googlish + Me Translation:

I've confirmed my USB devices are recognized:
Tascam us 800 USB
MIDI USB universal
Behringer USB stereo interface
Guitar Link USB

Today during the day I will do recording tests to see how they behave, demonstrating the novelty. I'll make a video to show you guys. I did the test on the iPhone 4.

Awesome news for iPhone musicians! Note that this only works on iOS 5.0+. Let me know if anyone gets this working on USB-MIDI keyboards as well. I assume it should, if the MIDI-USB adapter did.

Reader Comments 8

I wish Apple would simply enable CCK support for the iPhone and Touch; it's obvious they could do it, there's no hardware limitation. I'm very happy with my CCK midi connection with the iPad, and it just doesn't make sense to have to use one of the specialized (and more expensive) iRig type adapters for my phone. I'm mostly an Apple fanboi, but the lack of support here really pisses me off.

I'd jailbreak, but then that opens the upgrade/version can of worms, and I just don't have time for that headache.

August 02, 2012  | person_outline Fessaboy

Anyone know if this works on a 3GS? I did read somewhere that the 3GS and below uses different connections. Anyway, can't get it to work with my midi keyboard (evolution mk 61c). And besides, the phone tells me the CCK adapter is not compatible with the iPhone as soons as I plug it in.

August 02, 2012  | person_outline ChrisG

I tried it briefly. I managed to get it to work with my M-Audio O2 keyboard. Worked perfectly and instantly and made my hopes go up. Unfortunately, as soon as you plug out the CCK and plug it in again, it doesn't work. Seems like you need to reboot (respring is not enough) and then it works *sometimes*. I haven't been able to find a pattern to when it works and when it doesn't yet.

August 02, 2012  | person_outline Freja

"I wish Apple would simply enable CCK support for the iPhone and Touch; it's obvious they could do it, there's no hardware limitation."

Wow, you say that like you actually know what you're talking about. :)

I'm sure you're right, and I'm sure providing power to the dock connector for the CCK using the iPhone's tiny battery is just the same as using the CCK with the massive battery of the iPad. Furthermore, I'm sure that using this Cydia hack won't damage your iPhone battery or at the very least, degrade its lifespan, so carry on.

Saw a job posting for an engineer in Cupertino, you should probably apply because all of their current employees are too stupid to figure out what you already know. /s

August 02, 2012  | person_outline gatearray

I just re-read that.

Sorry about the snarky attitude, I meant no offense Fessa, having a bad day! :)

August 02, 2012  | person_outline gatearray

@gatearray -- no offense taken! The reason I'm saying that Apple could make it happen is that if there's a jailbreak solution that allows the CCK to work at all -- then it's a software issue, not a hardware one. And if it's software, Apple could bake whatever is in the CameraConnector jailbreak app into a release of iOS. My guess is that CameraConnector spoofs some of the APIs, so that whatever code would normally disable the connector stops doing that.

The iPhone dock connector has all of the required USB pins -- pin 23 is USB power, pins 25 and 27 are USB data positive and negative. The dock connector is sort of "USB, some Firewire, and a bunch of other stuff, squashed into a proprietary shape." Pin 21 of the dock connector detects resistance, to distinguish different types of accessories -- the jailbreak app might be spoofing this detection.

You're somewhat right on the power issue though -- an iPhone might not be able to power something big on it's own, but there are plenty of USB devices that take external power. My Apogee Jam is powered entirely by my phone, and the power demands for that are comparable to what you'd need for basic USB. The flash card reader that's part of the CCK is also disabled -- reading and writing flash is a very low power operation. I really don't think it's a hardware limitation; it's Apple trying to shape the market and push people towards certain products.

Imagine, if you will, the engineers when they were putting together the first iPhone design. "Hey, Steve, check out our new connector. We've included all the pins you'd need to run USB, but we've set it up so there's not actually enough power to do that." Heads would roll. But.... if it were "Hey, Steve, this connector has everything we need to connect to USB, plus we can enable and disable stuff as needed to extract more money out of customers" -- big promotion time!

I'm not saying the Apple engineers are not smart -- they're some of the sharpest folks around. My claim is that the "no CCK for iPhone" is a management decision, not an engineering one. Apple exerts this sort of control all time -- no SDK (yet) for the AppleTV, restrictions on the types of media you can play back on different devices, the whole Flash saga (where Steve did the right thing), and so on. What is possible to do with hardware, and what Apple thinks you should be allowed to do -- two totally different things.

August 02, 2012  | person_outline Fessaboy

Rebooting the iPhone while it is connected to the keyboard (in this case the O2 keyboard) will get the keyboard to work. I also tried the Edirol UA-25EX with my iPhone (4S) and it also worked (if I plug the CCK out, and then plug it in, it will not work and a reboot is needed while the device is plugged in via the CCK). Very nice! With both the O2 keyboard and the Edirol audio device, I used a powered USB hub.

August 02, 2012  | person_outline Freja

My next question was going to be about a powered USB hub, but you're one step ahead of me.

Thanks a lot for all the detailed feedback Freja! This is great news!


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