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I have a unique situation at my company. We are trying to develop a mobile service app that connects to slot machines. If you connect a PC to the slot machine, an external HD pops up in Windows and you can copy files to it.

We want to do the same thing through an iPad.

I know this would be all custom code, but I was wondering if it was possible for iOS to read an external USB drive through it's doc connector.

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No. iOS/iPad is only able to act as a USB host with the Camera Connection Kit (Apple Store). Even then, it only works to import/export pictures and videos between the iPad and camera.

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So no possibility of custom code against a hardware device? Or are you commenting that it's not possible out of the box? – Nate Oct 28 '11 at 20:07

It may be overkill in your situation, but take a look at the Apple's APIs for programming External Accessories (ADC link). It may require changes to the hardware, but may serve your needs for use with future devices.

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Yah, We will be writing a custom app for sure, you think you'd be able to code something with file access. – Nate Oct 28 '11 at 20:06
File access is generally a no-no on iOS device. That's part of the tradeoff for iOS stability. But maybe you can get around it a bit with the accessory stuff. – chrismanderson Oct 28 '11 at 20:07
Not file access on the device. File access through the USB cable to an external device. – Nate Oct 28 '11 at 21:44

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