As Apple Inc. makes Macs, iPhones, and iPads, it is normal to wonder whether a wireless USB product that we advertise as Mac compatible will also work on an iPhone or iPad. The answer is no- for two reasons:

  1. Operating system- modern Macintosh computers run Mac OS X, and our Mac compatible wireless products generally require at least version 10.3 or 10.4 (also known as Panther and Tiger respectively). The iPhone and iPad run a completely different operating system called “iPhone OS” and software for Mac OS X cannot be used on iPhone OS devices.

  2. USB port power- even if our manufacturers wrote iPhone OS compatible software for their products, it is unlikely any of our current products would ever work with iPhones or iPads because of the power limitations of the USB port option for iPhone/iPad. These devices do not have a USB port themselves, but they do have camera connection kits that have a USB port. However the ports on these emit a very low amount of power- 20 mA to be precise. Long range wireless receivers typically require 350-450 mA to function. A USB port on a standard desktop computer emits 500 mA. Apple has designed the USB port on the camera connection kit to work specifically for file transfer only- 20 mA is not even enough to power a digital camera, but of course digital cameras have their own power supplys to compensate.

Technology changes all the time, and it probably won't be long before these obstacles are overcome. But for now, unfortunately it is not possible to use a long range USB Wi-Fi adapter on an iPad or iPhone.