Craig Federighi on iPad’s external drive support: ‘We’re willing to acknowledge the 1990s’

Joe Rossignol for MacRumors:

On the latest episode of the AppStories podcast, MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci sat down with Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi to discuss WWDC 2019 announcements, including Project Catalyst, SwiftUI, and iPadOS.

Federighi also poked fun at the iPad’s newly added support for external storage such as USB drives and SD cards: “External drives. We’re willing to acknowledge the 1990s and go all the way back. You know, people still use them sometimes. I’m an AirDrop fan myself, but I understand there are other uses… we know with photographers, the ability to import their photos directly into an app like Lightroom is so important.”

The full interview can be listened to on the AppStories podcast over at MacStories.

MacDailyNews Take: 🙂 Craig Federighi is droll on steroids.


  1. Ya know, that is such an asinine comment and so clearly demonstrative of Apple arrogance, and why I and many others feel they don’t use their own technology, that I’m just going to close my iPad here and go get another coffee.

    But first, it reminds me of a time in an elevator when an exec handed me and this guy using an Android tablet a thumb drive of his RFP, and the Android guy just popped it in and copied it, and when he handed it to me, I just stood there with no port on my iPad. The Android guy was kind enough to put them in my Dropbox.

    Makes you wonder what Apple will declare unimportant on self driving cars?

    1. That’s Federighi’s sense of humor. Hence MacDailyNews’ “droll on steroids” Take.
      Apple has not declared “external storage” unimportant. On the contrary, they’ve actually given iPad the ability to access it.
      Relax. Chill. You can use some stupid exec’s throwback thumb drive on your iPad with iOS 13 now.

      1. But it’s not funny in the slightest because it’s not based on reality at all, it’s tone deaf and lame like most of Apple’s attempts at humor. AirDrop is an unreliable tool for transferring files while external drives are the bedrock of keeping your data safe and accessible. If anything it’s a weak distraction from the fact that Apple is grudgingly allowing access to something they can’t make money off of.

    2. I still prefer sneaker-net storage as an old-timer, but nowadays almost everyone is pushing cloud storage so I understand where Apple wishes it didn’t have to support thumb drives and SD cards. I like the option to choose between cloud and physical storage in case either one or the other isn’t available. Apple should easily have enough money and resources to offer both options for users. If a modern port is available, it should be usable for transferring data at high speed in this day and age otherwise Apple is simply ignoring the rest of the industry standards.

  2. The brazen arrogance of Apple really turns me off. I am seriously starting to wish there were a competitor to Apple. Android is not an option as I take privacy seriously. But I really, really dislike the arrogance of Apple.

    1. Yes, damn Apple for having the “brazen arrogance” to give iPad the ability to access external storage while acknowledging that, for example, it is important for photographers to have the ability to import photos directly into an app like Lightroom.

      How dare anyone make any attempt at lighthearted humor in 2019 with so many fully-clenched assholes such as yourself littering the planet.

      1. Brutal: 2019 is the year that Apple has finally eaten its plateful of crow and walked back many years of bad decisions.

        The reason Apple finally, after a decade, offered proper USB connectivity native to the iPad is because the people that wanted to have an ultraportable for field work have been screaming at Apple for that long. Pro photographers don’t want to dink around with Apple’s first “solution”, an overpriced plastic dongle.

        Speaking of littering the planet: be sure to include yourself in your crass segmentation of the world’s overpopulation.

      2. It’s the suggestion that Apple is condescending to support technologies that are still important to its customers.

        This is different in tone than “We don’t support it because we think there’s a better way.” You saw that (and many did not like it) with the floppy, the optical, etc.

        This is “We put this in for you troglodytes, even though we think it’s backward.”

        It’s insulting and denigrating.

  3. As others mentioned, this is precisely the condescending attitude that gives Apple a bad reputation. Intermittent support for hardware and software is another. Apple treats its hardware like art projects, tossing out its vision of how the world should work, then has the gall to tell everyone that the limited locked down Apple solution is all anyone should ever need. That is pure arrogance.

    Federighi needs to pull his hairy head out of his ass and realize that not everyone works in perfect Donut Office WiFi all day long. For many, “It Just Works” is only accomplished by wires in the field. Dinking around with data transfer over wireless (especially “free” wireless hotspots) is a waste of battery, it’s slower, it’s usually unable to be troubleshot quickly when it doesn’t work, and as we all know it’s also less secure. The “cloud” is a nonstarter. Bluetooth isn’t the answer to everything either, it has poor reliabilty and poor thoughput.

    Hey Craig: I know you’ll never actually admit it, but you’re actually pushing the 1970’s mainframe model, with Apple acting as Big Brother IBM; and iOS and iPad drones all tethered to the mother ship at all times to do even the most basic tasks. Exactly the opposite of the personal computer revolution that the founders of Apple delivered. You aren’t dragging people into the future, you’re actually corralling them to a horrid ancient computing model that should be abandoned.

  4. “External drives. We’re willing to acknowledge the 1990s and go all the way back. You know, people still use them sometimes. I’m an AirDrop fan myself, but I understand there are other uses… we know with photographers, the ability to import their photos directly into an app like Lightroom is so important.”

    That’s pretty douchey.

  5. The commenters on this site are really something. It’s clear to most who actually listened to the interview that Federighi was making fun of Apple and himself. It was self-deprecating humor. It’s also true that external drives are a security nightmare, thumb drives in particular, one of the weakest vectors for malware artists in the device. The number of improvements to iPads in this next OS update are mind boggling far reaching, as is obvious to all of us who actually watched the WWDC keynote. What a-holes you all are.

    1. No douche like an Apple douche…

      Lay off the Kool Aid and stop acting like you’re defending your sister’s honor.

      So when exactly was Apple mockable? Now, or before? Or are you trying to have it both ways. I’ll be my own IT department, and I will decide whether to salt my soup.

  6. Its a mess. Apple(and others) won’t stop until all of YOUR data is in THEIR clouds(and hence, they own it, and can sift thru in an effort to sell your info and wished to the highest bidder). Taken to the extreme, which isn’t to hard a stretch, Apple would love nothing more than to make devices with NO STORAGE. They may not say that now, but I have no doubt this is the future Apple is plotting. You subscribe to everything, own nothing, so no need for local storage. You create docs in the cloud, share docs in the cloud, you subscribe to media, so again, no need for storage. Apps? Well, it’s also not a stretch to see that apps could/can/will be downloaded from the web on an as needed basis. What do you that that feature in iOS is all about? The one where your apps are moved to the cloud, until you need them? As prices to access your data, both the cost to store it in the cloud and the cost to connect to the cloud, continue to rise, Apple hardware will become less and less of a necessity. And if anyone thinks Apple can survive as it is now on service fee alone, well, good luck.

  7. What an out of touch knob no wonder it took so long for Apple to concede to the masses and come up with this half assed approach.
    AirDrop? Please. Great when it works but flaky like a lot of apple software. Every time I’ve tried to airdrop photos from my iPhone to my iPad last few days, I’ve had to reboot to both devices to get it to work! Goddamn annoying as hell

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