SanDisk releases Lightning-enabled thumb drive for iPhone, iPad

SanDisk ixpand flash drive

SanDisk's iXpand flash drive with Lightning connector

Credit: SanDisk

The flash drive can act as a video and music player when connected to a mobile or desktop device

SanDisk today announced a USB flash drive with a Lightning connector that can be used with iPhones and iPads to automatically offload photos and videos with special software.

The new iXpand Flash Drive is three times faster than current portable storage flash devices in its class, with up to 2.5MBps write speeds, according to SanDisk.

The flash drive, which goes on sale Sunday, comes in 16GB ($60), 32GB ($80) and 64GB ($120) capacities. The iXpand is compatible with the iPhone 5 through iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, running iOS 8 or iOS 7.

The iXpand Flash Drive's primary connector is USB 2.0 (480Mbps), but the device also has a flexible nine-pin Lightning connector so it can plug directly to the iPhone or iPad.

The flash drive is 2.5-in. x 1.4-in. x .46-in. in size and has a 3.7-volt, lithium-ion battery that charges when connected to a mobile or desktop device.

The drive is protected by a metal exterior and comes with a two-year limited warranty.

"According to IDC, nearly three-quarters of all images are now captured on smartphones and tablets," Dinesh Bahal, SanDisk's vice president of product marketing, said in a statement. "With this significant increase in mobile-generated content, consumers are looking for easy ways to manage it all. We created the iXpand Flash Drive to offer consumers a quick and safe way to move their favorite content between devices so it's available when and where they want it."

The iXpand flash drive uses software, called iXpand Sync App, that automatically launches when plugged into an iPhone or iPad and can be configured to automatically sync photos and videos from the camera roll to the flash drive. The flash drive then can be used to physically move the content between an iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac computer.

Users can also store videos on the iXpand Flash Drive and instantly play them directly from the drive on their iPhone or iPad. The flash drive supports popular movie formats, including non-native and PC-friendly ones, like AVI and WMV.

The iXpand sync app also enables cross-platform encryption. Using the iXpand sync app, files can be password-protected on the drive directly from an iPhone or iPad and then decrypted on a Mac or PC and vice versa.

The iXpand sync app is available on the App Store for iPhone or iPad.

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