If you own a 2018 iPad Pro, you probably also bought Apple’s USB-C-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter, just so you can plug headphones into your $1,000-plus computer. But what if you want to do something totally crazy like, I don’t know, listen to music and charge the iPad at the same time? Or, given that this a pro machine, maybe you want to hook up a MIDI piano keyboard, or other gear, and use headphones at the same time?
Tough luck, right? No! If you have any old USB-C hub or dock, you can plug Apple’s cheap little dongle into the hub itself. Check it out.
Kingston Nucleum USB-C hub
Exhibit A: The Kingston Nucleum USB-C hub, aka the most compatible USB-C hub around. It works with anything, and hasn’t let me down yet. Unlike some hubs, the Nucleum has no headphone jack. That’s actually a good thing, thanks to an iOS oddity: On the iPad and iPhone, you can only use one audio device at a time. This can result in hubs with headphone jacks “stealing” the audio output from your fancy USB mixer/audio interface.
What the Nucleum does have is a pair of USB-C ports. One is to hook up a power supply to juice the connected iPad and peripherals. The other is a regular USB-C port. And, just like the USB-C port on the iPad Pro itself, you can plug in the Apple adapter dongle. Do so, and it works just like it would when hooked up directly to the iPad.
USB-C headphone adapter
Thus equipped, you can connect all kinds of devices to the iPad, while still powering it — and still using headphones (or running a cable to some speakers).
Not bad for a $9 dongle.