Users of the Apple iPad are very excited about the prospect of having the ability to print documents from ‘thin air’ from their favorite toy, but is it really a fact, yet? Apple recently released their highly touted AirPrint feature and it’s a wonderful thing, but there is only one problem: It only works on a handful of the hundreds of printers available to the public. HP must be loving this shortcoming though, as theirs are the ONLY printers that the feature works with to date.
AirPrint works by finding printers over WI-FI and will print photos, graphics and text documents and does not require any downloads or drivers. The catch is that you have to use the HP ePrint enabled version of their existing or upcoming models. If you already own one of these, then you can rock and roll now, but for the rest of the technologically challenged world, guess it’s time to go shopping.
Now if you aren’t ready to purchase a new printer just yet, here is a great way to work around the problem and still print stuff from your iPad. Are you ready? This is some really high tech stuff so prepare yourself: Take your iPad, lay it face down on the copy machine with the picture or document you want to print on the screen, and… Are you ready? Press ‘Copy.’ Voila! You have just printed your document! Now wasn’t that easy?
Now don’t get discouraged! There are actually some real work-arounds and third party programs that will allow you to print using the AirPrint feature and not have to spend a small fortune or sell off your first born to enjoy. If you are one of the non-technologically challenged crowd and have upgraded to iOS 4.2, you have a few options. Ecamm Network has developed a nice little software workaround with the Printopia program. Reasonably priced at around $10, it seems it can do what the people at Apple neglected to. They even added a little bonus, giving you the option to convert files to either JPG or PDF formats.
Another nifty option in overcoming the curiously understated AirPrint deficiencies is from Eurosmartz. Also very reasonably priced, their offering of Print Bureau looks like it might be a possibility. Reviews of the product reported that the program enabled access to email, photos, calendars and a host of other items, cloud-based or locally. There have been reports of inconsistencies with results so you probably wouldn’t want to use this program for printing out that ‘big presentation’ for the boss, but for everyday printing and access it looks like a great alternative.
If you decide to brave the wild frontier of AirPrinting, remember that patience is a virtue and sometimes the anticipation is just as much fun as the actual event. Apple will eventually get it fixed so you can use it will all of your toys, but for now I guess we just need to be content with the anticipation of upcoming innovations.