Apple's iPad contains a small speaker located on the bottom panel near the dock connector. It allows iPad users to hear audio without needing to wear earbuds or connect speakers. The iPad also has a number of other audio connection options that let you share audio with both large and small groups.
Drawbacks to the iPad Speaker
Because the iPad is so small and thin, its speaker is also small. Like many small speakers, it suffers from disappointing sound quality. Its sound is not capable of filling a room. While it is adequate for one of two people sitting relatively close together in a quiet room to listen to media that is speech-heavy, it does not produce enough volume for anything much more demanding.
Connecting Speakers to the Headphone Jack
Since the iPad has a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack, you can connect it to any audio device that has a 3.5-mm plug, such as a pair of computer speakers. Attaching a pair of computer speakers is an excellent way to use the iPad to share audio with a small group of people. You can also use an audio cable that has a headphone plug on one end and two phono plugs on the other end to connect the iPad to an audio system's stereo input if you need to interface with a home theater or professional audio system to fill a larger room.
Connecting Speakers to the Dock Connection
Some speakers come with dock connectors that allow them to connect directly to the iPad's dock connector and bypass its audio amplifier to deliver superior sound quality. You can also use the iPad Camera Connection Kit to add a USB port to the iPad so that you can connect speakers over a USB connection. This is particularly helpful if you desire the best quality audio, since you can use audiophile-grade, off-board digital-to-analog converters and amplifiers.
You can also connect your iPad to external speakers wirelessly. Its built-in Bluetooth 4.0 radio lets you use Bluetooth devices, although many of them have suboptimal sound quality. Many wireless speakers are compatible with the Apple AirPlay system that uses an existing Wi-Fi network to transmit sound signals. They typically offer the best sound quality.
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