SD Card Reader Coming to the iPhone

I often wish the iPhone and iPod touch supported memory extension via external modules. It would make my old iPod touch much more useful, which I suppose is why Apple (s aapl) doesn’t allow it (it’s a good reason to buy a new one). Soon, you’ll be able to use external SD cards with your devices, though probably not in the memory expansion capacity I’ve been dreaming of.

Still, you should be able to do at least as much as you can with the SD camera connector accessory that Apple’s officially releasing for use with the upcoming iPad. There’s no indication of whether or no that device will also work with the iPhone and iPod touch, but a third-party device by capitalization-challenged company zoomMediaPlus definitely will.

The accessory in question, called zoomit, will plug into your iPhone’s dock connector, and features an SD card slot that’s compatible with all currently available SD classes and capacities. Using a free app available from the App Store, you’ll then be able to access the data found on any card you insert.

A careful examination of zoomMediaPlus’ overly wordy press release reveals that you won’t be able to transfer files from your device to the SD card or vice versa, but you can view movies and photos, listen to music and preview documents stored on your external media. You can also share said media with others via email and various social networks, including Facebook. The only condition is that all of said media has to be in a format supported by iPhone OS 3.0 or higher, so those DivX files will definitely still require conversion.

At the very least, it should be incredibly useful for photogs on the go. You’ll be able to view and share you photos with others via the iPhone’s screen, which is undoubtedly better than the back of your camera in almost all cases. You should also be able to then create Facebook albums and post those photos to social network sites without first having to connect to a computer.

zoomMediaPlus envisions a future where content providers will sell specialized SD cards for use with the system:

In the future the zoomIt application will also support, among other things, protected content types enabling streaming of licensed music, videos, and other forms of protected content.

I wouldn’t count on this becoming a groundswell movement or anything, but it is an interesting possibility. Still, I see the value of being able to access documents anywhere without having to connect wirelessly to any kind of network. You take a look at soft proofs at an impromptu client meeting, or check out someone’s demo as long as they have it stored on SD media, which is fast becoming the only really strong player remaining on the flash card scene.

zoomit will retail for $59.95 when it is released in April 2010. You can save $10 now by pre-ordering, and get a free Kingston 4GB SDHC card in the bargain, but personally I prefer to wait until units actually begin shipping before putting down any kind of commitment.