One of the coolest and most touted features of AirPrint was the ability to use shared printers on your network to print to from any iOS device. I was actually as excited about that as I was about AirPlay, and even rushed to add the AirPrint feature to apps I am working on.
But according to a rumour circulating today, with some fairly solid evidence behind it, as well as a bit of hearsay, it seems that Apple is shelving the most exciting part of AirPrint: The ability to share printers on your home network wirelessly from any iOS device.
Here is the original sales pitch from Apple :
AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS‚Äîno set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download
iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to an HP ePrint printer or to a printer shared on a Mac or PC.
Pretty clear. Except that in the latest Beta builds that have been delivered to iOS developers, prior to the launch of iOS 4.2, all mention of printing via OS X 10.6.5 has been removed.
Whilst that could be an oversight on Apple’s part, as it’s not uncommon for them to miss features from Beta releases given to developers at various stages in development. It is pretty late in the day to be missing core features from software in the final stages of testing, unless they are not ready for prime time in the products launch schedule of course.
If that isn’t enough smoke, then developers who have contacted Apple have had it confirmed to them that AirPrint via shared networked printers is being shelved, at least in the short term. And that’s direct from Apple’s Developer support staff, according to sources quoted by MacStories.
The theory is that the implementation of the networking aspects of AirPrint is not yet solid enough to be released, due to bugs and incompatibilities with certain printers and drivers.
If AirPrint is to be hobbled in this way, so that it only prints to HP ePrint printers then it is quite different from its sibling namesake “AirPlay”, in that it really does not connect much to much at all!
We should all know more about this in coming days, as all the indications are that Apple is looking to push out OS X 10.6.5 (sans AirPrint support) and iOS 4.2 in the coming days.
In actual fact, if AirPrint does not work with networked printers there really is no rush for Apple to roll out OS X 10.6.5 alongside iOS 4.2, as they have little to talk about to each other any more!
Are you disappointed? Have your say in the comments.