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Apple iPad, iPhone OS 4 appear set to gain direct printing support

post #1 of 86
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Apple has hinted at the prospect for direct printing from the iPad in its support documents for iWork apps, suggesting the feature may appear as part of iPhone OS 4.0.

Support pages for iPad's Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps each note that "printing directly from iPad is not currently available," rather than simply stating that the apps do not print.

For now, Apple directs users to send their documents to a desktop computer that can print them, either via email or using iPad's new File Sharing feature in iTunes.

The ability to print via Bluetooth or WiFi may likely be part of Apple's iPhone 4.0 announcement on Thursday. Apple could avoid the need to include the massive amounts of (often buggy) printer drivers used by Windows or Mac OS X by simply supporting a limited subset of printing options.

Other details related to iPad's new hardware, its new Human Interface Guidelines, and its new feature tweaks (and curious feature omissions) will be considered in tomorrow's "In-depth review of iPad and iPhone OS 3.2."
post #2 of 86
Yeah! Just what I was thinking of today. When I get my iPad this will be important.

As soon as the new Ubuntu comes out I'm dual booting my HP computer because I'm tired of Vista. Having print support means I won't need to turn on my desktop computer, send myself an e-mail and then use Vista to print things. I'm sure Ubuntu will have all the drivers I'll need for printing, but at first I might not have the right one. I'll be able to print things immediately. I'll be getting my iPad sometime in June so the new OS might be out by then.
post #3 of 86
I'm not a developer (or even a power user), so please forgive me if this is a stupid question.

Is it possible that Apple will be treating the printer driver as a second app? Perhaps one that detects the printer, loads the driver then prints the document.

If so, perhaps they need to wait for iPhone OS 4 so that other apps will be able to take advantage of it.
post #4 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTMP View Post

I'm not a developer (or even a power user), so please forgive me if this is a stupid question.

Is it possible that Apple will be treating the printer driver as a second app? Perhaps one that detects the printer, loads the driver then prints the document.

If so, perhaps they need to wait for iPhone OS 4 so that other apps will be able to take advantage of it.


What's that old saying, 'The only stupid question is the one that is not asked.' or is it 'There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers!' and since I am not a developer and would be of no help answering any computer question with the slightest degree of technicality, I'll save my stupid answer to myself.

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post #5 of 86
I'm particularly excited about iAd myself. Think about this: a running ad bar service is that is on the top or bottom of the iDevice (lord knows that there's plenty of space on the iPad), constantly letting you know about other apps that are similar to ones you've bought previously. That's pretty cool.

You could take it further and have the entire background have 3-D ads, kind of like the city in Blade Runner or MInority Report. It would be like having the future RIGHT IN YOUR HANDS.

And then I suppose you could take it even further by looking at that giant app database, or your 3G cellphone data tower, or whatever, and start putting in regular click ads into the mix that are targeted specifically to you based on your demographics. No more having stupid mortgage ads constantly pop up on web pages that don't interest me! Just like Minority Report, again.

The future is a wonderful place.
post #6 of 86
I was wondering what that was all about - Apple hasn't had much love for Bonjour of late, but just last week they pushed out the update.
post #7 of 86
My understanding is that the iPad will only work with Apple's Bluetooth Keyboard... (don't have my own iPad yet - but my 3G is on order)... a nice enhancement would be support for ANY bluetooth keyboard.

IMHO - more and more "full sized computer" features will be slowly added over time until, eventually, you have a simple full-featured device my 65 year old mom can finally use.
post #8 of 86
It's inconceivable to offer a word app like Pages, on a device like the iPad, and not offer support for printing. To paraphrase another forum user, it's a basic business requirement to be able to print when connected to a network; also pretty basic to be able to print from within a business-related application like Safari, Mail or Pages.

Not only is this is a major omission for the iPad, but the problem with third party apps is that they're all a cheap substitute for the main app (i.e. close the business app, open and view the document in the printing app and then send it to print).

As for Apple directing users to send their documents via email, you lose all formatting, text wrap, etc. when this is done. http://discussions.apple.com/thread....7133&tstart=15
post #9 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTMP View Post

I'm not a developer (or even a power user), so please forgive me if this is a stupid question.

Is it possible that Apple will be treating the printer driver as a second app? Perhaps one that detects the printer, loads the driver then prints the document.

If so, perhaps they need to wait for iPhone OS 4 so that other apps will be able to take advantage of it.

This response is equally just a guess, but I would think that it would be a new API released in 4.0 that would allow the printing to be enabled through all apps including directly in Apple's own iWork apps. This would mean not that there is another app, just another piece of code developers could include into their apps to enable this.

Written on my iPad
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post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerARSgm View Post

My understanding is that the iPad will only work with Apple's Bluetooth Keyboard... (don't have my own iPad yet - but my 3G is on order)... a nice enhancement would be support for ANY bluetooth keyboard.

IMHO - more and more "full sized computer" features will be slowly added over time until, eventually, you have a simple full-featured device my 65 year old mom can finally use.

Any Bluetooth keyboard will work. This has been tested and confirmed with logitech and Microsoft keyboards. If it's Bluetooth, it should work.
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post #11 of 86
HP has a nice solution for printing photos and such to their printers. I wouldn't have been surprised to see something like that if multi-tasking was not a part of 4. One of the nice things about 4.x is Apple has the opportunity to move its CUPS printing model to the iPhone along with other goodies like a printer monitor.

Printing support will take some support from app developers but it should not be huge for most apps. I would expect that drivers will have to be added through your host computer (although possible to directly download from iTunes like the app store it would open a security hole that could be used for malicious payloads). The security issues are far from nil when opening up printing along with battery usage.
post #12 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

This would mean not that there is another app, just another piece of code developers could include into their apps to enable this.

True for the developers end that they will just connect the app view drawing routines to the new API's and the draw a modified version for printing but it will require at least one new app from Apple even if ran faceless - plus all the system support things like a popup for printing and options and page setup.

I would not be at all surprised to see page setup additions with the other system stuff and then a spooler to your local machine - otherwise we will need discovery capabilities via Bonjour or something else and then the ability to select printers and authenticate, etc.
post #13 of 86
My first thought when I saw Apple had added the ability for iPhone apps to create PDFs in OS 3.2 was that it'd be great for printing, in that a printer manufacturer could create a PDF printing app or at the very least I can just mail the PDF for anyone to print!

Of course, the iWork apps for iPad uses the PDF support as an export option, but still, I wouldn't be surprised if the PDF support turned out to be key to printing.
post #14 of 86
I would be surprised to see if Apple didn't include this in os 4.0.

Something along the lines of Vuescan, which is a terrific scan driver for hundreds of scanners.
post #15 of 86
I'd rather have threaded e-mail or an SMS client that retries when sending an SMS fails.
post #16 of 86
As much as I want this feature, this seems like some pretty aggressive tea leaf reading.

Have there been other hints the good folks at AI have received and this is just a way to keep things under wraps?
post #17 of 86
I've got a program that prints from my iPhone. There is a new version for the iPad as well. It's actually a Universal version. It does a lot more than print.

It's called PrintCentral. Yes, it costs, $9.99. They have simpler, cheaper versions as well. But this really works well.

http://mobile.eurosmartz.com/products/printcentral.html

So if Apple doesn't get printing off the ground, this is a good choice. There are a bunch of interesting productivity programs coming out for the iPad. You can see programs here:

http://appshopper.com/

What's interesting about the site, for those who like to keep track, is that they keep running totals of iPhone and now, iPad app totals in the app store. There are now 178,977 iPhone apps, and 3382 iPad apps.
post #18 of 86
I don't have a printer
post #19 of 86
I think this feature is a game winner. I recommended the iPad to my mother in law the other day, then retracted. Her big things, like may others, include email, web, viewing word documents and printing stuff.

With this, I can recommend yet again.
post #20 of 86
Direct printing support would go a long way in paving the way for an iPad in the hands of every student.
post #21 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I've got a program that prints from my iPhone. There is a new version for the iPad as well. It's actually a Universal version. It does a lot more than print.

It's called PrintCentral. Yes, it costs, $9.99. They have simpler, cheaper versions as well. But this really works well.

http://mobile.eurosmartz.com/products/printcentral.html

So if Apple doesn't get printing off the ground, this is a good choice. There are a bunch of interesting productivity programs coming out for the iPad. You can see programs here:

http://appshopper.com/

What's interesting about the site, for those who like to keep track, is that they keep running totals of iPhone and now, iPad app totals in the app store. There are now 178,977 iPhone apps, and 3382 iPad apps.

Ahhhhhh the mods are spamming!

Just kidding! I will have to try Printcentral.
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post #22 of 86
If anyone is looking for an easy and free way to share files amongst computers, iphones, ipads just download dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTU3MDM3MzQ5

It installs on any operating system. Whenever you put something in your dropbox it automatically gets synched to all other computers sharing that drop box. You can even share a drop box with other people or groups.

If you click on the link I provided above you get an extra 250mb of storage. You get 2GB for free initially.

A friend told me about drop box last week and I'm hooked.
post #23 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by main1event View Post

If anyone is looking for an easy and free way to share files amongst computers, iphones, ipads just download dropbox. https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTU3MDM3MzQ5

It installs on any operating system. Whenever you put something in your dropbox it automatically gets synched to all other computers sharing that drop box. You can even share a drop box with other people or groups.

If you click on the link I provided above you get an extra 250mb of storage. You get 2GB for free initially.

A friend told me about drop box last week and I'm hooked.

It's a good service, lots of users like it.

But at $100/year, the breadth of services offered by MobileMe are without peer.
post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by framerate View Post

My first thought when I saw Apple had added the ability for iPhone apps to create PDFs in OS 3.2 was that it'd be great for printing, in that a printer manufacturer could create a PDF printing app or at the very least I can just mail the PDF for anyone to print!

Of course, the iWork apps for iPad uses the PDF support as an export option, but still, I wouldn't be surprised if the PDF support turned out to be key to printing.

You beat me to it. I posted this on Digg yesterday. If they allowed apps to print to PDFs and then it put them in a folder, the PDFs could be printed by a printer app, emailed, texted, edited by other apps or even synced via iTunes...there could even be fax apps. FedEx/Kinkos and others could have apps allowing you to print at their stores, etc... There are a lot of possibilities, and it's all pretty simple on Apple's end.
post #25 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

It's a good service, lots of users like it.

But at $100/year, the breadth of services offered by MobileMe are without peer.

Dropbox is better for file sharing/syncing. It's truly amazing. I can't live without it now. Perhaps Apple will copy their implementation.

It's a very good workaround, actually. Any computer can link to your account and print your documents.
post #26 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

I don't have a printer

What's a printer?

*
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post #27 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

What's a printer?

*



duh
post #28 of 86
If they went the server / shared printer route would they even need drivers? The Mac or server offering up the print service would take care of that. All the iPad needs to do is send PDF's to the print queue.

Not that direct printing would be nice but in a portable device it would seem that you would end up with a lot of print drivers installed. Plus there isn't a lot of RAM nor Flash on this first gen device.

Whatever they do it will become an important feature.
post #29 of 86
Does Blackberry or Android OS have this feature?
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post #30 of 86
Great news... if it's real!
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post #31 of 86
What about printing _to_ the iPad? ie. from a Desktop making PDF output to the iPad?
post #32 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonrrwatch View Post

...
As for Apple directing users to send their documents via email, you lose all formatting, text wrap, etc. when this is done. http://discussions.apple.com/thread....7133&tstart=15

Thanks for the alert. I read through the entire Apple FAQ and support thread and the one-way format modifications/conversions/limitations are dismaying, as well as surprising. For some, the utility of the iPad for project collaboration will be significantly impacted.

Edit: Regarding Pages collaboration, at least between a Mac-iPad-Mac, be certain to utilize Styles for all your formatting. In that way, while some may not be incorporated (at least for now) on the iPad, they will be retained for use, or re-use, when returned to the Mac.
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post #33 of 86
I kinda like Andy Ihnatko's solution:

1. Display what you want on the iPad screen.
2. Place iPad on Xerox machine.
3. Press the photocopy button.

Done!
post #34 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

Dropbox is better for file sharing/syncing. It's truly amazing. I can't live without it now. Perhaps Apple will copy their implementation.

It's a very good workaround, actually. Any computer can link to your account and print your documents.


Re: Dropbox, aren't we assuming apps under iPhone OS 4 will be able to save files to the file system directory ??

How is an app going to get its file into the Dropbox folders to share it ?
post #35 of 86
Apple has continually underwhelmed people with their iPhone OS updates. I am sure this next release will do the same. I am also sure these improvements will come to fruition, but it won't be soon.
post #36 of 86
I really hope that this could be the beginning of a new printing system for all computers. I have been thinking for a while that having a print driver on each computer that needs to print seems unnecessary.

A driver should be more like firmware, and instead be on the printer itself. The printer could send its capabilities (color, paper sizes, ink levels, etc.) to devices that are about to print, and then documents can be sent to the printer in a standard format, pdf seems like a good choice, but it could be anything, or everything, there's no reason a modern printer shouldn't be able to handle most kinds of image formats on its own.
post #37 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelb View Post

I kinda like Andy Ihnatko's solution:

1. Display what you want on the iPad screen.
2. Place iPad on Xerox machine.
3. Press the photocopy button.

Done!

Best laugh I've had all day.
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post #38 of 86
What the hell kind of crap article is this? Daniel's citation links to the his own tweet about the support pages making mention that printing support is not yet supported. How about linking to the support pages themselves?
post #39 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonrrwatch View Post

It's inconceivable to offer a word app like Pages, on a device like the iPad, and not offer support for printing. To paraphrase another forum user, it's a basic business requirement to be able to print when connected to a network; also pretty basic to be able to print from within a business-related application like Safari, Mail or Pages.

Not only is this is a major omission for the iPad, but the problem with third party apps is that they're all a cheap substitute for the main app (i.e. close the business app, open and view the document in the printing app and then send it to print).

As for Apple directing users to send their documents via email, you lose all formatting, text wrap, etc. when this is done. http://discussions.apple.com/thread....7133&tstart=15

Not an omission at all, there are third party printing solutions already available - after all, isn't that what most printers currently rely on anyway (with the exception of CUPS drivers, again not developed by apple). You can print from the iPad using any number of apps, some free, some very inexpensive.
post #40 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Not an omission at all, there are third party printing solutions already available - after all, isn't that what most printers currently rely on anyway (with the exception of CUPS drivers, again not developed by apple). You can print from the iPad using any number of apps, some free, some very inexpensive.

And as I stated, they're all a cheap substitute for the main app. If you're going to sell an Apple-branded Word Processor, you should be able to print out your work without using third party add-ons.

Show me the free app, or for that matter, the paid one, that will keep all of the documents created in Pages' text formatting, wraps, etc. in place between the app and the printer. I've tried them all.
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