Using external storage

Q: I am a great fan of Apple products and am eagerly waiting for the iPad as it is really sexy, but I need to know whether it can be connected to a portable hard disk? In his speech Steve Jobs said that the iPad is between the iPhone and MacBook, so is it a kind of netbook that I can use for my education purposes?

– Shasikanth

A: There has been no indication that the iPad will natively support external hard disks, although this seems very unlikely. The OS on the iPad is based on the iPhone rather than Mac OS X so it won’t work in the same way as a full MacBook would—the iPad has more in common with the iPhone and iPod touch than it does with a laptop of netbook computer.

As with the iPhone, it doesn’t seem that the iPad will have a fully browsable file system like a desktop or laptop computer would, although there will be a shared document area that applications can access and that can be mounted on your computer via USB. This will likely be the only storage area support natively in the iPhone OS, although it could be possible for a third-party developer to produce an application that could be used to transfer files between an external storage device and the iPad storage area.