As Ian Malcolm in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park famously said, “...your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” YouTuber napabar should have heeded that advice before trying to get his Apple Watch to connect to an old Iomega Zip drive. But surprisingly, he succeeded.
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Iomega is best known for its high capacity disk drives of the mid to late ‘90s (100MB was considered monstrous at the time) that randomly stopped working and destroyed data in the process thanks to the company cutting corners and churning out hardware that wasn’t very durable. The fact that a working Zip drive still exists might actually be the most impressive part of this video, but seeing the Apple Watch access files on a floppy disk is a fun synergy of two different generations of technology.
The original Iomega disk drives connected to computers over an excruciatingly slow parallel port cable, while later versions, including the 250GB model used here, mercifully switched to USB. But if you’ve ever seen an Apple Watch you’ll know the wearable has a distinct lack of parallel or USB ports. To get this bizarre pairing to work, a piece of software called Rumpus was used, which serves up files over the internet over FTP using a web browser interface. A link was texted to the Apple Watch, which opened the wearable’s basic web browser, but it was apparently capable enough to open and manage files stored on a Zip drive connected to an iMac.
Is there a practical use for this hack? Not really. Even with a USB connection to the iMac pulling files off of a floppy disk is painfully slow. Even the cheapest of USB flash drives would be considerably faster, and there’s much less risk of the drive failing in the process and taking all your data with it.