Optical drive for the iPad?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by antonio107, May 27, 2011.

  1. antonio107
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    antonio107 iPad Fan

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    I have a USB optical drive from my old netbook, which was especially handy for the odd time when I was on vacation down south, and wanted to either rip a movie at my grandparents' home, or buy a DVD and rip it on to my netbook, and then go from my netbook to my iPod touch.

    Now I hear that apple's camera attachment has had a USB port for quite some time now! Well well well! Has anyone managed, through official or hacked channels, to get the iPad to read optical drives (and sorry to go off topic on my own thread, lol, but what about USB memory sticks, at that)?

    These are things I could live without, I guess, but if there was a way to do them that would be sweet! Thanks. :)
  2. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    ......?

    I thought the whole point of flash memory was to get rid of CDs. Anyway I have never tried, I don't have a USB cd drive though.

    (this was also a bump)
  3. tzimisce
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    tzimisce iPad Addict

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    Even if the physical connector exists for a USB optical drive, I don't believe iOS has any kind of native device driver for it - the same as with a mouse, for example.
  4. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    tzimisce is right. No driver support for a start. You can connect mass storage devices to the USB CCK as long as they are either externally powered or have a very small power draw. Anything else, such as USB webcams, CDROM drives, etc. is out of the question because there are no drivers for them.
  5. antonio107
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    antonio107 iPad Fan

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    Right. Is there any reason to believe a JB can, or hypothetically COULD, alleviate this problem? The drive has the option to be powered externally, so that much isn't a problem!
  6. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hypothetically, yes. But like most drivers, they would be specific to the device. Don't imagine you'd find a developer willing to dedicate what would likely be months to develop and test just for that one make of drive... Device drivers are no fun to develop at all, especially if you dont have the original specs. They'd have to reverse engineer the existing drivers, likley linux ones. Just too much hard work for a very little reward. Far better off with a 1TB powered external hard drive for which there are Apple drivers than a bespoke 640MB CDROM storage device I think!

    - EDIT - Sorry, I see you said optical drive and DVD, so saying it is just for 640MB is wrong, obviously. I'd just got CDROM into my head because wolfie mentioned it. But still think it's not a worthwhile endeavour! :D
    32GB SD Card via the camera connection kit is much easier and it just works!
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  7. antonio107
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    antonio107 iPad Fan

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    Well, thanks! I think I need to teach myself OOP. I have too many good ideas of "things my iPad could do, but doesn't." :D

    I'm curious about the "specific make and model" dilemma. This is a USB DVD/CD drive that I got off of EBay for 25 dollars AFTER SHIPPING (Canadian funds; no fooling!) It has no brand markings, and came with no drivers. But windows XP recognizes it. Perhaps as a programming illiterate person, I'm missing the point, but couldn't you make a generic driver for it (yes, with months of reverse engineering, etc., lol), and have it work for all makes of USB optical drive?

    And graywolf, you're absolutely right. Flash and SSD is the future. But when I got my Windows ME tower, I demanded the salesman include the USB attachment for my 3.5" floppy disks. And my windows 7 tower has a USB turntable plugged into it. I'm not abandoning all my old movies/software/music, just because they're not available on ITunes. ;)
  8. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No, your're right, I guess I was being a little harsh.
    Provided the drive is standards compliant you could write an ATAPI DVD driver for iOS. All ATAPI drives would work. Probably slightly easier (because the specs are known), but still a chore none the less. Also, good old OOP wouldn't necessarily be the best way to go about it. I doubt you would develop a device driver in objective C for example. Usually its assembly language for device drivers for various reasons.
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  9. antonio107
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    Ah, gross. Yeah, why not go the full nine yards and starting tapping 1s and 0s into a notepad file? :D

    (I'm also assuming there's no way, easy or otherwise, to port windows/snow leopard/Ubuntu software or drivers to iOS, is there?)
  10. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Not quite as low level as binary, but not far off. Lots of binary, hex, registers, moving, jumping, pushing, and popping :) Learing assembly is a great way to learn how computers ACTUALLY work, and it is absolutely a pre-requisite for jailbreak development...

    Depends on what your definition of "easy" is for porting a driver. Certainly no easy way for a non-programmer to do it, and device drivers are typically a specialism that experienced programmers migrate into developing. You tend not to start there. It's not as though you can just take another OS's source code, change a few lines and compile it.
    So an experienced programmer who has written device drivers for other OS's, preferably linux / unix, or OSX, would probably find it "easy", relative to coding a new device driver from scratch... Still don't think you would get much change from a couple of months work start to finish unless you found yourself an ATA/ATAPI expert.
    Last edited: May 28, 2011

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