Just a quick note for those that are wondering … but the latest iPad Pro models, with the USB-C connector (instead of lightning) will work directly with external DACs. No special “dongle” required, just a USB-C to whatever-USB-connection-your-DAC-uses cable.
Sitting listening to the tia Fourté via a Hugo 2, with just a random USB-C to micro USB cable.
Of course … one step forward, one step back … so these same new iPads do not have a 3.5mm headphone jack on them. So to use my Bose QC20i on a flight now requires either the Apple USB-C to 3.5mm headphone adapter, or some other DAC (e.g. a Dragonfly Red).
Most of my iPod/Phone based listening is very casual and done via AirPods or Sony WH1000XM3 anymore, so those are wireless anyway, but a Bluetooth update to the QC20i or USB-C support there would be nice. I would use the QC30 … but they’re too big and fragile vs. the QC20i and the battery life is too short.
Anyway, if anyone was wondering if you still needed a dongle to use an external DAC with the new iPads, the answer is “no”.