All models of the original iPad and iPad 2 come with a built-in microphone. This microphone is not meant for producing high-quality recordings, but it has a number of purposes that are suitable for the average user. To get the most out of your iPad microphone, you need to download apps that allow you to use it in various ways.
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The microphone on first-generation iPads is a tiny hole on the device's top edge, just to the right of the headphone jack. On the iPad 2, the hole has become a small slit in the top centre edge of the device. Speakers on both iPad versions are on the bottom edge of the iPad, keeping them far enough away from the microphone to avoid conflicting input and output.
The iPad's microphone works well for apps that support voice communication, whether you are making telephone calls through a voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, app such as Skype, video calls on Skype or FaceTime on the iPad 2, or using an app with voice-activated commands, such as Internet search applications and navigation apps. You can also use the microphone in note-taking apps that allow you to record a lecture or meeting while you take notes. Some apps link your recorded audio to the notes you write or type, turning the iPad's microphone into a multipurpose recording device.
Apple does not support external microphones through the iPad itself, but you can use Apple's camera connection kit, sold separately from the iPad, to connect a USB microphone to your iPad. The camera connection kit converts the docking port on the iPad to a USB connector. This USB will not support high-powered devices such as USB drives, but it works with some microphone models. Using this connection and an external mic, you can record better quality audio or music, and then mix it using any iPad audio app, such as Apple's Garage Band. You can also use the built-in or external mic to add audio to iMovie on the iPad 2, but the original iPad does not support iMovie at the time of publication.
If you keep your iPad in a case or cover, choose one that leaves the microphone input area uncovered if you plan to use the microphone for any reason. Many cases have cutouts for all of the iPad's buttons and ports, so choose one that leaves ample space around the input. If you are making phone calls using VoIP, consider choosing a headset with a built-in microphone that can plug into the iPad's headset port. This will keep the microphone closer to you, providing clearer speech for the person on the other end.
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