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Dear Aunt TUAW: Will my MacBook Air Ethernet adapter work with my iPad?

Dear Aunt TUAW,

Whoa, it's sure been hot here in Texas lately, so it's a good thing you're staying in air-conditioned comfort at the resort there in Florida. That reminds me of something I meant to ask you...

Since I'm basically hanging out in my dorm room with its gigabit Ethernet connection to beat the heat, I'd love to figure out a way to hook that big pipe to my iPad. Remember the old MacBook Air that I got rid of? Well, I still have the USB Ethernet Adapter for it, and I was wondering if plugging that into the USB port on the iPad Camera Connection Kit would give me a way to use Ethernet on the iPad.

I don't have a Camera Connection Kit, but if this works, I'll run out and buy one as soon as I get money from Mom & Dad.

Stay cool,

Your loving nephew, Chris
Dear Chris,

Thanks so much for your nice note. It certainly has been warm here in Florida, and the humidity has made the flowers on my hats absolutely wilt!

I can certainly see why you're interested in connecting that broadband Internet connection to your iPad, after your sister told me that you've been downloading 'special' movies to that cute little tablet. Shame on you!

Unfortunately for you, the MacBook Air Ethernet adapter won't work with the iPad. It's not that the plumbing is wrong -- you can plug the Ethernet adapter into the USB port on the Camera Connection Kit -- but there just aren't any drivers or firmware that allow the iPad to communicate with the adapter. If you can put that BitTorrent client down long enough to look under Settings > General > Network, you'll notice that there are configuration buttons for VPN and Wi-Fi, but not for Ethernet. I'm no expert in these types of things, but I'd be willing to venture that an API would need to be written for the iPad that would allow it to converse with the adapter.

For now, you're going to have to put up with using your 802.11n Wi-Fi connection. And really, Christopher, go get yourself a summer job, stop pestering your parents for money, and stop downloading those awful movies. Spend some time in the real world and maybe you'll meet a nice 'real' girl.

Disappointed in you, but love you anyway,

Auntie T.

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