AirPrint for iPad: Advantages and Disadvantages

Apple iOS 4.2’s Airprint is one of the most awaited applications for iPad. You will now have the added capability to directly print your emails, documents, photos and web content from your iPad.

Just like any new application, and depending on your personal preferences, Airprint for iPad has capabilities and limitations that will likely make you a loyal fan or turn you off for now.

Advantages

1. Airprint is packaged as an update to iOS 4.2, which means there is no additional software to download. You can print from various iPad applications like Mail, Safari, iWork, Photos and other third party applications that have built-in printing.

2. No printer drivers to install. Once you get your iPad on iOS 4.2, you will get that extra “Print” button that you didn’t use to have. Just a few taps on your device and you’re all set.

3. True wireless printing. There are no cables that will keep you tethered to your workstation. Your iPad will automatically locate and connect to AirPrint-enabled printers on your wireless network. It won’t matter if you’re in the kitchen and the printer is back in your bedroom, you won’t have to run up just to print something. Just tap away on your iPad while finishing your meal, your printouts will be waiting for you when you’re done.

Disadvantages

1.   AirPrint currently only supports specific ePrint-capable HP printers, so printing from your iPad will be somewhat limited. Seven HP printers work with AirPrint right off while five models need a firmware upgrade. By December 27, 2010 there is another firmware upgrade that will add AirPrint compatibility for six other HP Officejet printers.

The iPad market along with everybody else fully expects Apple to support AirPrint on non-HP printers in the future, but there has been no announcements as of yet.

HP ePrint Enabled Printers:

  • Photosmart eStation (C510)
  • HP ENVY100 e-AiO (D410)
  • Photosmart Premium Fax e-AiO (C410)
  • Photosmart Premium e-AiO (B310)
  • Photosmart Plus e-AiO (B210)
  • Photosmart Wireless e-AiO (B110) (EU, AP)
  • Photosmart e-AiO (D110) (Americas)

HP Printers That Require Firmware Upgrade:

HP Printers with Firmware Upgrade Available December 27, 2010:

  • Officejet Pro 8500A Premium e-AiO
  • Officejet Pro 8500A Plus e-AiO
  • Officejet Pro 8500A e-AiO
  • Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-AiO
  • Officejet 6500A Plus e-AiO
  • Officejet 6500A e-AiO

2. There aren’t very many printing options like collating pages or some minor format changes like you’re able to do on your standard printing set-up. From your iPad, all you will be able to do is tap on the “Print” button and select how many pages you want to print.

3. If you want to be able to print from your iPad on existing networked printers, that are non-HP to boot, you may be able to do it but you may need a sizable amount of patience setting it up. The good news is that others have done it and are generous with their tips. Check out some helpful tips to get it done.

Overall, to be able to print wirelessly, iPad offers some experiences and conveniences that you probably never thought you needed, but soon enough won’t be able to live without.

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.

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