With a lack of USB ports or SD card reader there's no easy way to expand the storage capacity of an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. With the iPad and iPod touch topping out at 64GB and many opting for the cheaper, lower capacity models, users are either faced with the task of picking and choosing and switching and swapping the media files and documents they think they'll be wanting to enjoy, or looking for an app to stream media over the Internet to their device. With this latter option leaving users at the mercy of increasingly congested Wi-Fi hotspots or chewing through data over 3G or 4G networks, Seagate has just announced another solution in the form of the GoFlex Satellite – it combines a 500GB portable HDD with a built in wireless streamer to let users take their entire media library with them.
The GoFlex Satellite device is basically a standard GoFlex 500GB HDD packed in an enclosure along with an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi module, rechargeable lithium polymer battery and web-server. Used in conjunction with the free GoFlex Media app for iOS devices, the drive appears as local attached storage for up to three devices at the same time. However, an Android app is due this northern summer and in the meantime users of Android smartphones and tablets can stream media to their device's web browser.
Getting content onto the drive from a Windows PC or Mac OS X computer is accomplished using the included Media Sync software. The software is configured to only allow the transfer of files that are compatible with your iOS device, including music and videos purchased through iTunes that will then play on all authorized devices. For those with a USB 3.0 enabled computer, the drive also comes with a USB 3.0 cable to take advantage of the higher transfer speeds offered by USB 3.0.
Seagate says the GoFlex Satellite's battery has a 25-hour standby battery life and will deliver up to five hours of continuously streaming video. To help extend the battery life, the GoFlex Media app also provides a progressive download feature that will temporarily load video onto your iOS device so the drive can go into standby mode. Along with the wall charger, the drive also comes with a car charger to ensure the kids aren't left hanging halfway through Toy Story 3 on a long car trip.
The GoFlex Satellite is available now for pre-order from Seagate for US$199.99 and is set to arrive in Best Buy stores in July, 2011. Global availability is scheduled for later this year. The GoFlex Media app is available now as a free download from the iTunes App Store.