Portable Media Server For iPads

I have a concept for an invention. I don’t think anyone makes it yet but it definitely needs to be made. It’s not anything revolutionary. It simply combines existing technology to create a new class of products.

Three years after this post, someone has finally invented this product. The SanDisk Connect 64G Wireless Media Drive Streaming On the Go (SDWS1-064G-A57)
does everything I envisioned and more.

I have a concept for an invention. I don’t think anyone makes it yet but it definitely needs to be made. It’s not anything revolutionary. It simply combines existing technology to create a new class of products.

The Scenario

I want to play media on a portable device but I want to choose from a vast selection of movies, pictures, music, or other rich media content and be able to share it with other devices.

The Problem

iPad, iPhones, and other mobile devices

ipad

  • Limited or non-existent external storage.
  • It’s a one on one device. Media on the iPad can only be viewed on that iPad.
  • You can connect to the web but that requires an internet connection. That’s not always possible or feasible.

MiFi or Sprint EVO

verizonhotspot

  • Portable battery operated hotspot that connects devices to the internet.
  • That solves the hotspot problem but the internet connection is not needed. It’s certainly nice to have but the cost to have it makes the device prohibitively expensive.
  • No storage.

Western Digital TV

wdtv

  • Now we have storage. This connects to an external usb drive but…
  • It requires AC power and is not portable.
  • No hotspot capabilities. It’s designed to output to a TV.

Seagate Dockstar

dockstar

  • Portable drive dock with a web server built in but it must be connected to a router.
  • The drive connection is proprietary and only connects to the Seagate FreeAgent drives.

What’s needed is a portable media server that has a built web server and acts as a hotspot.

Features:

  • Battery operated like the Mifi
  • Operates as a local hotspot allowing multiple devices to connect.
  • USB dock for 2.5” hard drive where content can be stored.
  • Since it acts as a web server, this can also function as a destination storage devices for EyeFi and any other wifi enabled camera.
  • Option to turn off hotspot and connect direct via cable to iPad or Iphone for airplane use.
  • AC adapter + vehicle power adapter.
  • Possible form factors include shaping it as a stand for an iPad.
  • Price should be around $99.00.

With such a device, a user will be able to store up to 1 TB of content on a 2.5” hard drive and serve a small group of devices in a local area. Note that iPads and iPhones cannot play most avi files. To pay non-supported files, use Air Video to convert and stream video on the fly.

Uses include:

  • In vehicle as a media server.
  • In business meetings to serve presentation, documents, spreadsheets, etc.
  • At parties as a media server for music, movies, and photos.
  • In the airplane as a media server for movies on a long trip.
  • Camping, boating, and other venues where power wifi is not always available.

Someone in Shenzhen, China please make this and send me one for thinking of it.

  • this is the closest thing I could find:

    http://www.airstash.com/

  • Lmaldonado

    Patrick — have you found a solution yet? Have you looked at AirStash (www.airstash.com) ?

    • I think Airstash is just vaporware right now. I’m on their list for a review unit. It’s almost perfect. It would be perfect if it had a 2.5″ drive interface instead of built in memory. Can you imagine the possibilities of being able to carry a portable 1 TB media server for iPads?