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4 Reasons Musicians & Producers Shouldn't Care Apple's iPad Pro 2018 Has No Headphone Output
Rounik Sethi on Wed, October 31st 7 comments
is the new iPad Pro 2018 Apple announced yesterday really able to replace a modern laptop? How will musicians and producers and DJs cope without a headphone connection on this premium machine?

Featuring an 11" or 12.9" display, a really powerful 64-bit A12X Bionic chip, up to 6GB RAM and 1TB  of storage, and starting at $799, the new Apple iPad Pro 2018, equipped with a rather nifty Apple Pencil 2, is set to take on the traditional laptop computer like never before. In fact, Apple claims it is faster and more powerful than many Windows PC laptops.

While there's plenty of really good DAWs and music making software apps and plugins now available for iOS, the removal of the headphone audio output jack has upset many a producer and DJ. There are those who feel this is a fail for musicians and sound engineers.

Here's four straight to the point reasons why the new iPad Pro 2018 edition not having a headphone out jack should really not concern the music making community:

1. A Serious Interface

RME babyface Pro

If you’re serious about performing live, recording or producing in the studio you’ll more than likely look at using an audio interface with your iPad Pro. Now with USB-C providing Thunderbolt 3 speeds the iPad Pro connected to a compatible audio interface will provide extra inputs and outputs so you can connect microphones, guitars, monitor speakers, and your favorite pair of headphones etc.

There's plenty of iOS compatible audio interfaces available to suit every budget from IK Multimedia, Focusrite, Audient and also RME to name a few brands.

2. Don't Ditch The Dongle

USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adaptor

Apple sell (for $9) a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. If you want to use your regular headphones, albeit with an extra dongle required, this is for you. Those rocking iPhone 7s and above have been doing this for a couple of years already. Losing the adaptor on the night of a gig would be a pain of course, so don't!

3. Bionic


That A12X Bionic Chip is fast and powerful. We’re talking performance in the region of many a laptop, even when multi-tasking. Maybe we’re finally seeing a tablet that could take over from a laptop or desktop as the primary machine in the studio?

4. Bluetooth

Bluetooth headphones

Apple have been pushing the wireless thing for a long time now. Most of us aren’t thinking about whether Bluetooth technology is harmful for health due to the small amount of microwave radiation emitted, compared to that emitted by many phones. Musicians and DJs seem more concerned about latency. A few extra milliseconds gap between when you trigger a sound or hit the play button to when the sound hits your ears can bring a DJ set to its knees.

But, latency for wireless headphone solutions is reducing, and we should see this improve over time. If it’s still a major worry, the best solution is to use an audio interface.

A Bright Future?

It feel like we're finally here after 8 and a half years since the first iPad was launched. The iPad Pro looks ready to take on and take over from the traditional laptop and become the powerful music computer it's always threatened to be.

GarageBand and Moog Model 15 on iPad Pro

Now we just need to wait for full and complete DAWs like Logic Pro and Ableton Live to appear for iOS 12 and above. In the meantime with GarageBand, Cubasis 2, Auria Pro, and many others there's enough choice for almost everyone.

More about Apple iPad Pro:

Whether you're using a Windows PC, macOS computer of iOS iPhone or iPad, the Ask.Audio Academy unites all under one roof with pro tutorials to help you make music more easily:

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Comments (7)

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  • Buis
    Another reason not to care that the 2018 ipad pro has no headphone output: It has no home button, so one happy swipe intended to do something in your favorite app will bring the springboard up and maybe stop your live routine. So the reason no live performer should care that it has no headphones is that they would never buy it in the first place because it is unfit for live work. Plus: you can get 3 normal ipads at this price.
    • 3 years ago
    • By: Buis
  • Seriously? Those are just excuses... And none of them will replace the jack 1. I have a special Audio Interface from Focusrite which has a lighting connector so now I have to buy another AI... It's of the problems here. Another problem serious AI uses external power which is a no go for a portable setup Also they are big enough to omit them during vocations or business trips Plus I don't need external devices for sketches or when using synths only... I use iPad pro on planes for creating music that is the point portability and mobility.... 2. the dongle does not solve the problem with connecting external midi keyboards along with the headphones or while charging unless where's some kind of type-c hub (not sure if it exists and I dont need another device to carry..) mobile device turns into the big package of wires... 3. Bionic, I don't see how it can help me to connect my 3.5 phones to the tablet 4. Bluetooth is a no go because of the latency while recording instruments live... especially synths it won't be better anytime soon 5. I had hopes for the new iPad, but w/o the jack... I'll stick with my current 12" iPad Pro
    • 3 years ago
    • By:
  • The 2018 iPad Pros DON'T have Thunderbolt 3 speeds. They are USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, not Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt 3 is way faster.
    • 3 years ago
    • By:
  • I'm a professional keybordist using ipad for live performance, because of its stability, simplicity and praticality. Instruments, including keyboard instruments, have come to a point where they can compete with top hardware instruments. Here's why the 3.5 headphone output matters, a lot, and why I'm not buying the otherwise desireable new iPadPro 1 - A serious interface. I have one, but mainly using it on big shows. For rehearsells and daily gigs it doesn't make a difference. Having to connect and transport it everytime destroys completly the sense of praticallity. Sitting on the sofa, or travelling, using my headphones connected in the phones output and my 37 keys keyboard, is not possible anymore, unless I carry and connect my usb hubble, my audio interface, and my keyboard, and then finding a power socket to connect the power supplyers for all this interfaces. Again, ipad stops making sense, in that case, I'll prefer to go back to PC. 2 - Don't ditch the dongle - I have no problem with it, not expensive, easy to carry. But then how can I connect my keyboard? And how can I charge my iPad in those long hours working? Processing power alone doesn't make it serious working tool, connectivity does. And here Apple is reducing to a minimum the allready limited connectivity of the ipad. Again, we can do all this, but the paraphernalia needed would make it even more complex to use than a normal laptop, and than the ipad loses its main appeal. 3 - Bionic - Don't need a superfast processor if I don't have enough ram to suport it. 4 gb, or 6 gb ram is comparable to android phones, not serious work tools. I need to run more pluggins, so ram is essncial. If at least I had more CONNECTIVITTY... 4 - Bluetooth - It can be enough for dj's, but keyboard players can't tolerate more than 5 ms latency, and this is allready the safe latency we need to use on ipad. Add to that the bluetooth latency... A bright future? Not without connectivity, not loosing it's praticallity, and with just two reliable I/O (lightning and 3.5 headphones jack), the ipad jjust lost 50% of it... Not bright for me,..
    • 3 years ago
    • By:
  • Hi, I want to buy the new IpadPro 2018 with USB C, but I use the excelent Microphone Shure Motiv Mv88, and a Xpand de San Disk with lightening. I didn’t find an adapter with female lightening to USB C male in the Apple web or Amazon. Apple plans to manufacture that piece soon? I wrote 2 times to `Shure Spain without any answer. If it’s not posibletoo connect devices to te new IpadPro , I won’t buy it shortly.
    • 3 years ago
    • By:
  • Everyone’s always trying to give us the reasons why it’s great they took the headphone jack off!!! I’m more just to hear your reasons why they couldn’t fit one on? Apple is making more room for the giant extra specs camera that they’re putting in they couldn’t put a little tiny head for Jack in there you know there is something called a 24 mm Jack is well pretty sure that would definitely fit I would take that over no headphone jack!!! At the end of the day or the life situation no one can be bothered with dongle’s interfaces adapters and especially ...Bluetooth ?? you know how frustrating Bluetooth is sometimes when you try to connect to the device it is collecting to every other Bluetooth but not the one you wanted it to yeah [email protected]“& that. I just want to plug in a para headphones where ever I am whatever time it is plug it into the device and sit down is that too much to ask for? I guess in the future USB headphones USB microphone cables USB everything right something has to be standardized. I don’t care what it is or how it gets done I guess we’ll have to figure out away Wireless technology and interfaces are not good reasons or a solution!!!
    • 3 years ago
    • By:
  • Mibarbaro
    Unfortunately, this is not a solution for me. Having removed the 3.5mm audio output, Apple also removed all the incredible practicality that I had. Now, will I need all this mess to just play a virtual piano on a simple gig? This is Apple being Apple. Where do they want to go with this? An iPad / iPhone with no audio output doesn't make sense for musicians who want practicality. And a respected academy like "Ask.Audio & macProVideo" should criticize such an attitude. And don't give support! "Programmed Obsolescence" is reaching bizarre levels!
    • 11 months ago
    • By: Mibarbaro
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