GarageBand’s velocity-sensitive drums and keyboards — which use the iPad’s accelerometers to know how hard you hit the screen — are nothing short of amazing. But just as you wouldn’t want to write a novel on a virtual keyboard, neither would a musician want to perform by trying to hit the little on-screen keys.
Enter The Carbon 49, a USB MIDI keyboard controller for the iPad. The controller, from Samson, connects to the tablet using your camera connection kit and has a slot up top to keep the iPad snug and safe as you play.
You can use the keyboard with any MIDI-compatible app, which includes GarageBand, and it can even draw its power from the iPad so you can take it busking. The keyboard has 49 semi-weighted keys (hence its name), various performance controls and has connections for MIDI-out, a sustain pedal and USB.
And at just $89, it looks to be something of a bargain.