Question about the iPad USB adapter

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jamesryanbell, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. jamesryanbell macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #1
    Regarding the USB adapter on the front page within the last few days, I know they said it was for importing pictures, etc. Could you hook up an external hard drive to that port? I don't know if they OS would accept it/recognize it, but I just wanted to ask. :)

    It would be a cool way to be able to access a lot more media than the current storage capabilities allow.
     
  2. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    Bay Area, CA
    #2
    Nobody else knows either, and this isn't the first time the question's been asked. Please search the forum before posting new threads.

    Having a USB port is not the only requirement. The host device needs a fully-implemented USB controller (it's not known if the iPad has this), and the OS needs to implement the complete USB Mass Storage stack in order to read from memory cards and external drives (again, unknown for iPad OS). All that is confirmed is that photos and videos can be transferred from memory cards and attached devices. Since there is no universal format or file structure for cameras, you can probably just copy files from your computer to a memory card and achieve the same result.

    Whether other applications can access the accessory, and whether media can be viewed/played directly from the card without copying locally is unknown.
     
  3. mkivsupra macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    #3
    My vote is no right now, because they market this adapter as part of the "Camera Connection Kit". So it doesn't really make sense marketing wise for Apple to market it as such and then turn right around and say "Oh, BTW, it also allows you to open other files types too."

    BUT, now that I think of how it works....

    Let's say for instance my camera has an SD card in it to store photos. And I have the USB adapter and hook my camera up to the iPad.... The iPad almost certainly has to have a USB controller to be able to see the image files on the external storage device right? So, I could store word docs and such on the SD card as well... The iPad probably wont display them as viewable... but the underlying ability is certainly there. It sounds like its just a matter of Apple coding the OS to only look for certain file types (JPG, PNG, BMP, etc). Who knows. We will see what the iPad actually does once we get our hands on the adapters... whether it just ignores file types it doesnt recognize, or whether it can only read certain file systems or what.
     
  4. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #4
    The iPad absolutely has a USB controller. It communicates over USB. What it does not necessarily have is a complete USB host controller, just like the earlier iPod models, which could support only limited USB host functionality.
    There's quite a bit more to it than that. Reading files from a device is a far cry from full support for attached storage. A special, lightweight form of USB mass storage is present in printers to allow for printing from PictBridge-enabled devices; something similar may be involved here. All that we currently know is that the iPad can import certain data types from attached volumes.

    It's certainly possible for the camera kit to provide connection options to SD cards and USB drives, if the iPad has fully implemented USB in both hardware and software. But that's a big "if". Your digital camera has an SD card slot and a USB controller, but can only interact with limited data types in limited roles due to hardware and software limitations. The iPad might be just the same.
     
  5. sJv macrumors regular

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    Sierra Foothills, CA
    #5
    I would think the iPad does have a complete mass storage stack if it's able to read SD cards (which would connect via USB through an SD card controller). I am thinking an external HD would work, but you'll only be able to access the pictures on it!

    -steve
     
  6. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #6
    This is how your digital camera does it, too, and it does not have a host controller at all, let alone a host controller and the full mass storage stack. Being able to read an SD card is not an indication of anything, really.
     
  7. jamesryanbell thread starter macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    Mar 17, 2009
  8. Mark Booth macrumors 65816

    Mark Booth

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    #8
    The Camera Connection Kit comes with two adapters. One is a Dock/SD Card adapter. The other is a Dock/USB Adapter. We already know:

    1) Using the former, you can transfer photos from an SD Card to the iPad.

    2) Using the later, you can transfer photos from your camera connected via USB to the iPad.

    What I want to know:

    If you plug a USB Compact Flash card reader directly into the iPad's Dock/USB adapter, can you import photos into the Photos app without using the camera?

    I'm betting it will work with any USB compatible card reader (CF, SD, Multimedia, Memory Stick, etc.).

    99% of the time I'm taking photos, I'm using my digital SLR and it only uses Compact Flash. So if I have a way to transfer (and store) photos on the iPad directly from my CF card (without the hassle of connecting the camera), then I have one more reason not to carry around my MacBook Pro.

    I look forward to someone testing this in the next few weeks! :)

    Mark
     
  9. jamesryanbell thread starter macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #9
    Hopefully someone can answer it for us for sure this weekend. :)
     
  10. thrill5one6 macrumors regular

    thrill5one6

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    Mar 30, 2010
    #10
    I don't see why not. The camera kit imports video and pictures from your camera which most likely has a FAT32 or NTFS formatted memory card in it. If your external HD is the same format, why not? :confused:
     
  11. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #11
    Read the thread and you won't be :confused:.
     
  12. sJv macrumors regular

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    #12
    Sorry, but you are just wrong. An SD card will be formatted with a Win32 filesystem. You HAVE to have some mass storage stack to parse the filesystem and make updates. The iPad will have to have this same stack as well to be able to read a win32 filesystem. A USB connected SD card looks the same as a USB connected hard drive from the hosts point of view.

    I am guessing that the iPad will be able to read an external connected hard drive, but it may ignore anything that's not a picture.

    -steve
     
  13. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #13
    Sorry, but you are just wrong. "Some" mass storage stack is not a complete mass storage stack. A digital camera has no ability to read a hard drive, even if you wire it in--regardless of the file system used. Addressing hardware in USB subclasses requires greater hardware and software implementation than that. Partial implementations are found in millions of digital cameras and printers around the world.

    Just try it. Plug a hard drive with a folder of JPEGs into a PictBridge printer. Watch the error message.
    Only if the host's USB implementation includes the full mass storage stack and hardware, which is by no means guaranteed. By the same token, routers with USB NAS support often won't read memory card readers or printers, even though all of those are members of the MSC, because the router--gasp--lacks the complete stack necessary.
     
  14. jamesryanbell thread starter macrumors 68020

    jamesryanbell

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  15. MarkCap macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2010
    #15
    Has anyone found a simple way to transfer pictures from iPad to a flash drive?
     
  16. blackNBUK macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 19, 2010
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    UK
    #16
    I haven't heard of anything in the normal iOS world. If you jailbreak then you should be able to copy from the iPad without any trouble.

    You would probably get more replies if you posted your question as a separate topic.
     

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