128 GB iPad Is Great for Photographers

Apple announced today that the fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display will be available in a 128 GB model, doubling the former top capacity model for just $100 more. The Wi-Fi model costs $799, and the Wi-Fi + Cellular model costs $929. Both will be available starting February 5 in black and white. No other specifications for the iPad change.

The capacity bump is significant for photographers who want to store and review a lot of images in the field. Apple is also targeting this configuration for other professional users, emphasizing areas that need lots of storage such as architecture and music editing and creation. (See Adam Engst’s take in TidBITS: “Apple Aims New 128 GB iPad at Professional Users.”

Seagate Wireless Plus Appears

Well this is interesting. My iPad app updates today revealed an update to the Seagate Media app, formerly known as the GoFlex Media app. Aside from the name change and a new icon, the app reveals this little nugget:

Upload Photos and Videos Straight from iOS Device (for Wireless Plus)

The Seagate Media app enables you to upload photos and videos from your iOS device to your Seagate Wireless Plus drive in full resolution and quality, perfect for offloading files to free up space on your iOS device or keeping an extra backup copy.

I had high hopes for the Seagate GoFlex Satellite drive, which was originally designed so that you could store lots of high-capacity media (videos and photos) on the drive and wirelessly stream it to an iOS device. You wouldn’t have to use up all of your device’s memory to store that stuff, great for people who own 16 GB iPads. In the book I describe using Photosmith to go the other way: the developers worked with Seagate to transfer photos from the iPad to the GoFlex Satellite. It was a genuinely great way to back up the photos you import into the iPad from cameras.

But there was a problem. It didn’t work reliably. The Photosmith guys ultimately pulled the feature because files were getting corrupted in transit. And if even an occasional file was corrupted, it couldn’t be trusted.

Now, with this news Seagate is introducing a new device: the Seagate Wireless Plus (price not specified yet). The GoFlex Satellite is being renamed to the Seagate Wireless—no “Plus.” That means the new hardware will be able to support wireless media backups, but not the original hardware. I suspected that the problem might be in the Seagate firmware; I’m also disappointed that the company seems uninterested in updating the firmware to make this feature compatible.

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Still, I’ll be ordering a Wireless Plus when it’s available, since having an on-site backup for photos when you’re shooting without a laptop nearby has been the missing link of a good iPad photo workflow.

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