One of my frustrations with the iPad is the lack of additional storage. There is no SD card slot. There also is no USB slot. You can connect USB devices via the Camera Connection Kit. But that’s basically to connect your camera (I guess that’s why they call it a Camera Connection Kit) and upload pictures to your iPad. You can connect a few other things, but a USB external drive isn’t one of them.
The iPad can see files and download files on the hard drive on your desktop or laptop. But that isn’t a very mobile solution.
There are two solutions which enable you to use WiFi to see, download and even run files on either a SD card or an external hard drive.
AirStash has been around for about a year. It looks like a USB flash drive. But actually it holds a SD card. It also has built in WiFi, which enables your iPad to see the AirStash. The device has a small battery so you don’t need to plug it in. To recharge, you use its USB connector. Finally, there’s an AirStash+ app which runs on your iPad to facilitate interface with the device. The app is free, but the AirStash is not. $99.99.
Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage is new. In fact, it may not be available for about another month or so. Similar idea, except the storage is a hard drive, not a SD card. So it’s much larger: 500 GB vs. the 32 GB max of an SD card. More expensive too: $199. Free iPad app just like the AirStash.
I wonder though about one potential issue on which I have seen little discussion. If I’m connected to one of these via WiFi, how can I be connected to the Internet via WiFi at the same time? From what little information I can find, the GoFlex requires a direct WiFi connection. In other words, I may not be able to connect to the GoFlex through my MiFi so I still could have an Internet connection. The same issue may exist with the AirStash.
Currently I use DropBox to access files from my iPad. Of course, this requires an Internet connection, unlike the GoFlex or the AirStash. However, with available WiFi, and my MiFi, this usually is not an issue. So while the GoFlex and the AirStash are interesting, I’m not yet ready to pony up the money for either.