It’s been nearly four months since iOS 4.2 for the iPad was released, with AirPrint as one of the headline new features included in it. Initially, AirPrint was touted by Apple as bringing ‘universal’ wireless printing to the iPad and iOS.
By the time the 4.2 update was released that had been scaled back enormously – it offered wireless printing only to AirPrint-enabled printers and the list of those was pathetically short. Back in November the list contained only seven printers, all from only one manufacturer, HP.
Today I had a quick glance at Apple’s list of Airprint-enabled printers again – hoping and expecting that it would have expanded quite a bit. Sadly, it hasn’t. There are now only 17 printers on the list – still all from HP. I realize it is probably legal and licensing reasons that are crippling this list right now, not technology-related ones, but even so it strikes me as very lame on Apple’s part that they promised the world on this feature and they’ve not even come close to delivering on the promise.
HP has updated six more of their printers to support AirPrint. AirPrint is meant to be one of the big new feature of the latest iOS 4.2 software update for the iPad. It was originally advertised as offering universal printing from iOS devices, to wireless and shared printers. On release though, it is very disappointing and – until today – supported only a dozen HP printers (none from any other manufacturers) and no shared printers at all.
The six HP printers that have now added AirPrint support are:
These models range from $129 upwards on Amazon. Even with these added, this is still less than 20 printers supported by AirPrint, and all from one manufacturer – a far stretch from universal. In the meantime, if you’re on a Mac there is a very nice little app that will allow you to use just about any shared printer with AirPrint, just as Apple originally pitched the new feature. See my article here for how to use this app to make AirPrint work with shared printers: http://ipadinsight.com/ipad-tips-tricks/how-to-make-airprint-work-with-just-about-any-printer/
The new app doesn’t just have a new name and the same excellent functionality as its predecessor; it also has take the necessary steps that should keep future take-down requests away, as it no longer contains any Apple files. Here’s a little more detail, straight from the guys at Netputing:
I just received an email from my hosting service provider asking me to comply with the request to disable the AirPrintHacktivator web page or else they will suspend my service.
I certainly don’t want to loose my web presence so I will comply with the request even if I find it excessive. I am also in the process of migrating the application under a new name to a new page called conveniently airprint activator.
A quick rundown on How to Use AirPrint Hacktivator to Make AirPrint Work with Any Printer:
I’ve talked a lot here recently about how hugely disappointing the much-hyped new AirPrint feature has turned out to be in the recent iOS 4.2 update. Apple originally promised it would support a wide range of wireless printers and virtually all shared printers. On release, it supports a very small handful of HP wireless printers and no shared printers at all – making it unusable for the vast majority of iPad users.
The good news is that now there is an easy and free way to get AirPrint working as it was originally intended, and use it with your shared printers on your network. Read on for the very easy steps required to use the AirPrint Hacktivator app to get AirPrint going …
AirPrint was touted by Apple as one of the biggest headline new features included in the recent iOS 4.2 software update for the iPad. It has turned out to be a huge disappointment. Instead of supporting both wireless printers and nearly any printer all that was shared via your PC, it has come out with support only for a very small range of HP wireless printers and no support at all for any shared printers. There are a number of 3rd party printing apps that offer much more than AirPrint currently does.
The hope is that Apple will beef up AirPrint (a lot) in future updates. It surely needs to be drastically improved, and it looks like there is more reason to be hopeful on this subject now – as Steve Jobs himself is apparently promising it. In another of his highly publicized efforts as an Apple customer service rep, he had this email exchange with a user recently:
You got me all hype about AirPrint. Now with iOS 4.2 released, I find out that I can only print on 11 select printers. Seriously?!
And, Steve Jobs’ alleged reply:
Lots more coming soon. It’s what it takes to make a giant leap to driverless printing, which is huge.
Here’s hoping that soon means very soon, and that ‘lots more’ includes support for shared printers, as we were originally promised.
AirPrint is one of the headline new features in the latest version of the iPad software – iOS 4.2. It allows you to print directly to certain wireless printers from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch (see below for which models and other requirements).
This new feature has almost no settings, requires no setup on the user’s part, and is one of those typical Apple offerings that should ‘just work’ if you have the right device and printer.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s needed and how it works …
AirPrint is the new feature in iOS 4.2 (released today) for iPad and iPhone that lets you print to certain wireless printers direct from your iDevices. Originally, AirPrint was also going to support printing to any shared printer on your local network, but that functionality was stripped out shortly before release of the iOS 4.2 software update for iPad and iPhone.
So AirPrint currently supports only to wireless printers, and to a very select group of wireless printers for now. For now the list is only seven printers, all from HP. Here’s the list as of today (11/22/10):
HP Envy eAll-in-One series (D410a)
HP Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210a)
HP Photosmart Premium e-AiO (C310a)
HP Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410a)
HP Photosmart e-AiO (D110)
HP Photosmart Wireless e-AiO (B110)—Europe and Asia-Pacific
It looks like AirPrint – the big new printing service included in iOS 4.2 – has been cut back severely in its final release. The service was originally touted to include the ability to print from iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch to certain supported wireless printers and to * all * shared printers on local network PCs.
Over recent weeks, Apple updated the description text for the service on its site – stripping out all mention of shared printers support – and now it is missing from the AirPrint section of the official 4.2 release announcement:
AirPrint is a next-generation Wi-Fi print architecture that dramatically simplifies printing by completely eliminating printer drivers. A selection of AirPrint enabled printers including the HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro and HP Officejet will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to any printer that supports AirPrint.
This leaves AirPrint as a not very exciting feature at all for most users. There is only a very slim range of supported wireless printers that are supported for it, and there are 3rd party apps that are already fully capable of printing to shared printers. Hopefully Apple will update AirPrint soon, as for now it’s become quite a lame new feature.
AirPrint is one of the big new features included in the upcoming release of iOS 4.2 for iPad and iPhone (which many expect will be released this week). I really hope the feature is going to work much better in the final public release of 4.2.
I say this because I’m currently running the GM (gold master) release of iOS 4.2 and have upgraded to Mac OS X 10.6.5 (released yesterday) that is said to be required for AirPrint to work correctly. And so far that has got me a whole lot of nothing as far as AirPrint goes. Every time I try to use it, all I see is the ‘No Printers Found’ error message shown in the screenshot above.
There are lots of reports over the last couple of days about how Apple may be cutting down the originally promised functionality of the new AirPrint feature in iOS 4.2. Originally, AirPrint was touted as allowing you to print from your iOS device to local wireless printers as well as any printer shared on a Mac or Windows PC.
If it proves true that Apple is removing the shared printers support from AirPrint, that makes it a far less useful feature right away. Not everyone has access to a wireless printer, and if shared printers are not supported it will render the feature useless for many people. There are even third party apps available right now for the iPad that support shared printers – which knocks even more gloss off AirPrint if it comes out supporting only wireless printers.
Airprint is the new printing system for iOS devices that is coming in iOS 4.2, due for release in November. Oliver from The i-Blog has done this cool, short video showing off Airprint in action. Like me, he’s running the iOS 4.2 beta on his iPad – but he’s also running a pre-release build of Mac OS X that is required to make use of Airprint.
The super cool thing about Airprint is that it’s added a Print command to the Share button in built-in apps. No need to go out to another app, it’s just another option alongside Email and Copy under the Share button. I watched the video and then banged away on the Share button on my iPad running the 4.2 beta. Sure enough, the Print command is right there in the Safari, Mail, and Photos apps. Very good stuff. This will quickly kill off most third party printing apps if Apple extends support for the print command to all built-in apps and third party devs start adding it to their apps, as I’m sure they will.