The Imation product will offer three connectors – USB 3.0, Micro USB and Lightning – so it can receive data and offer power to a wide variety of devices. There's a Link app for accessing the storage from iOS.
Physically it is a silver cylinder about 1" in diameter with integrated stowage for the connectors. It's one more thing to carry, but if you use a phone and a tablet it could be just the thing.
Retail prices: $60/16GB, $85/32GB and $130/64GB. Imation already offers a nifty USB thumb drive with both standard and micro USB connectors for use on computers and Android devices.
Expect it to ship in late 2014.
Mophie is offering something different: an iPhone 5 battery case with flash data storage. Like the Imation product it also offers an app to access files on the storage.
It is considerably pricier, at $150 for 16GB and $180 for 32GB. But the integration may be worth it to you. Due to ship in March.
The Storage Bits take
As mobile devices become our primary computers, the need for both power, storage expansion and data interchange becomes more important. I use a battery case already and love that it makes my iPhone an 18 hour a day performer.
But I'd also like direct file access to load movies and copy photos without firing up my notebook. The combination of power, storage and file access software should meet my needs.
Given the absurd prices Apple charges for additional storage on iDevices, I always buy the minimum. If the file access software is decent that will help overcome that part of the Apple tax.
Comments welcome, as always. How important is external storage for mobile device data interchange?