iOS 4.2 AirPrint for iPad is Magical (Video)

AirPrint iPad Apple

AirPrint iPad AppleLast week we saw the release of the first beta of iOS 4.2 on both the iPad and iPhone. One of the marquee features of iOS 4.2 is a little thing called AirPrint.

Since the announcement and subsequent release of the iPad earlier this year, Apple has been pilloried for the lack of an easy way to print documents directly from the device. Many people, yours truly included, resorted to emailing files into Dropbox, remote controlling another machine (using VNC for example) and printing from there. It works, but it was one hell of a pain in the rear.

Fast forward a few months and we have AirPrint. Now, or should I say, in November all iPad users will be able to print, wirelessly, straight from Apple’s tablet. There are however a couple of caveats. You knew there would be!

First off, you’ll be needing an AirPrint enabled printer. Currently the only ones with this badge are from HP and have the ePrint moniker. More manufacturers will come on board over time, and I’d expect us to learn more the close we get to iOS 4.2’s release.

With this configuration printing will be a cinch. Simply tapping a button (which button that is can depend on the app in question) you’ll be presented with a list of available printers that your iPad has found over WiFI. From here it’s a case of selecting how many copies you need and hitting print. If you printer’s anything like mine you’ll hear it spin up from 2 cities away, and you’re done. Nice and simple.

The second option is to use a shared printer. This works the same as any other shared printer, in that the machine it is connected to needs to be on the network and powered on. Once your printer is shared the iPad will see it as normal, and printing is, for all intents and purposes identical to method number one.

Now, being the inquisitive kinda guy that I am, I bravely (some may say foolishly) installed the 4.2 beta onto my iPad. I obviously wanted to get access to multi-tasking ala my iPhone 4, but AirPrint was also something that tickled my fancy.

If you’re going to try this at home kids, remember you’ll need the latest Snow Leopard beta too – that’ll be 10.6.5 for those not keeping track.

Once all installed, simply sharing the printer on the network made it pop up just where I expected it on my iPad. The apps I have that seem to tie into the AirPrint API are currently limited to Apple software – namely Safari, Mail and Photos.

Stabbing the print button resulted in much whirring, clattering and banging from my Kodak all-in-one, which is, unusually, a good thing.

In typical blogger fashion I’ve made a short (and I’d like to think, sweet) video demonstrating the ease in which I printed the Google search page. Oh yes, exciting stuff!

So there we have it. AirPrint is coming to an iPad near you around November time according to our friends at 1 Infinite Loop. From what I’ve seen, and considering this is still beta 1, we’re in for a treat. Couple this with AirPlay and the obvious inclusion of multi-tasking, it’s like the iPad’s being released all over again!

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Oliver HaslamiOS 4.2 AirPrint for iPad is Magical (Video)
  • http://www.facebook.com/claire.marie.39948 Claire Marie

    hoping santa will bring me an airprint enabled printer at xmas, until then will have to keep using my print n share app!

  • Anonymous

    I still do not understand how do you release something like the iPad and offer really no solid printing capabilities. Oh right, because this thing is useless.

  • Anonymous

    How did this work on your Kodak printer when you said yourself that only HP is supported right now?

    • http://www.the-iblog.com/ Oliver Haslam

      HP printers are needed print directly, but any networked printer should work via a Mac.

  • Tom

    I’m curious if the print feature will give all the options of a desktop, i.e. will it have the option to duplex print if the printer is so equipped? What about being able to print odd and even pages to manually duplex?

    Just curious.

    • http://www.the-iblog.com/ Oliver Haslam

      At the moment these options don’t appear to be there.

      This is still only beta 1, so further options and features could well find there way into the final release of 4.2 – it’s been known for features to never be in the betas and appear for the final release.

      Fingers crossed for more options!

  • http://twitter.com/Design4iPhone Asia Ciesla

    Looks great! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait :)

    • http://www.the-iblog.com/ Oliver Haslam

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! Glad you liked the post and/or video!