When it comes to backing up the iPhone or moving files to and from the thing, you haven’t had many options, but SanDisk has been working on something.
Last year, we had an indication on what that “something” was, with the unique iXpand flash drive that worked on the Lightning port found on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Making a USB flash drive with a new port isn’t totally unusual, and it’s been done before with microUSB, but Apple’s Lightning is special because it generally needs a little bit of power to function, so SanDisk had to throw in a battery to make this technology work. A USB port was also found on this unit, meaning you didn’t just back up your Apple product, and could take your data back to a computer or a TV or anything else with a USB port.
The result was a USB key that was bigger than your typical thumb drive, but super useful if you wanted to get files to and from an iPhone or iPad, and was pretty much the fastest way the team at GadgetGuy managed to get app image off an iPhone or iPad, not to mention backing up our steadily increasing supply of photos.
Not long after, Lexar joined SanDisk with a concept of its own, and it was smaller, so of course, SanDisk wasn’t finished, and we’re seeing the fruits of those labours now in the follow-up to that product, the 2016 iXpand Flash Drive.
In this generation, SanDisk has managed to slim everything down, keeping the flexible rubberised Lighnting connector but changing the USB connector to the newer USB 3.0 technology, catering for faster downloads.
The app has also been changed in this version, and while it always launched when the iXpand drive was plugged in, now it includes encryption to keep people out as well as storage expansion.
“People are using their mobile phones to capture tonnes of photos and videos, and more than 70 percent of users transfer files off of their iPhones to another storage location,” said George Saad, SanDisk’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand.
“Our line of mobile storage offerings can immediately help them free up space. With the new iXpand Flash Drive, people can spend more time using their iPhone to capture what they love, and less time worrying about how and where to transfer these photos and videos.”
One thing of note is the pricing, and that’s a little higher than your conventional USB drive, likely because the technology is a little different, thanks to that Lightning port.
As such, you’ll find the SanDisk iXpand starts at $79.95 for the 16GB option, with 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities running for $109.95, $149.95, and $229.95 respectively. Support is pretty friendly, however, with every Lightning-equipped iPhone supporting the drive going back to the original iPhone 5, and quite a few iPads too.
Availability of SanDisk’s 2016 iXpand can mostly be found in various tech specialists around the country, with DigiDirect, PC Byte, Tech2Go, and Wireless1 among them, but we’ll let you know when it expands to greater electronics stores.