Printing from an iPad is a little different because it essentially acts as a mini notebook computer. It has the capability to write, draw and listen to music. These are great options indeed, but when it comes to printing, the field narrows considerably. There is a foolproof solution that isn’t convenient however, and that is to transfer the desired documents to a workstation and print them out. While this would obviously work, it really doesn’t qualify as iPad printing exactly. However, into this void have come some creative solutions from third party manufacturers.
There are a variety of these programs to select from and they will cover a wide range of printers. However, not all of them work, so it is important to find a workable solution for your iPad. The biggest disappointment among current users of this device is the lack of a universal solution for Wi-Fi printing. One option that is available is Air Sharing HD which was found to print documents on a network shared by the iPad but it did have some problems when it came to properly formatting the output.
At this time there are 3 categories of apps designed to print from the iPad. There are software programs that are designed to work directly with a Wi-Fi style printer. The next type will work with Macs that share printers and do not require transferring the documents to a workstation before a hard copy can be obtained. For Mac users, this is a great innovation. The last category has to have a server online when trying to print out something from the iPad. While this does work, it is terribly inconvenient for users who can more easily just transfer their contents to a computer.
For users who want to make use of direct printing apps, one solution from Canon allows photos to be developed through their proprietary hardware and software: Easy Photo-Print for iPhone. This did work with the iPad also. While it was functional, it was not aesthetically pleasing since the app took up the entire iPad display (while designed for the smaller iPhone). The drawback is that only pictures in your photo gallery were able to be sent to the printer.
(#2.) HP iPrint Photo
Hewlett Packard is another manufacturer that has made forays into this market with their HP iPrint Photo. Although it has worked on the iPhone, there are still some compatibility issue with the iPad. The utility did work when a shared printer was used on a Mac network share however.
ePrint is one solution that was supposed to take care of a variety of these types of issues. The manufacturer claimed that photos, text and entire web pages would be able to be safely printed with this utility. However, it too has had issue when testing a number of printers. This includes trials with HP, Canon and Epson models.
(#4.) Air Sharing HD
Users will mostly likely find more success when getting an app for printing to shared printers. The Air Sharing HD program looks for Macs only on a Wi-Fi network and then pinpoints the ones available. It does not integrate with the iPad files directly. The program prints by connecting to servers on a network and then prints through a Mac which is unoccupied. This means that documents such as email can be easily printed using the Air Sharing HD app. Although it was able to print many different styles of documents to some printers, there were others which proved to be incompatible.
There were also problems with office documents as well. Although there was a hard copy produced, the formatting was odd at best. Some documents did not have a left margin when printed out. Some also did not have the crisp appearance of a printed document, resembling rather a soft copy on the display.
(#5.) Documentz Pro
The final app was Documentz Pro which claimed to have the ability to use shared printers for output. However, there were also problems with this utility since documents couldn’t be loaded into the app on the iPad. It required using the Internet from its proprietary interface to download the software which was not to easy. Most of the other apps available for the iPad are still not free from the bugs that have plagued all early software releases. The bulk of them don’t actually communicate with a printer but instead link up with a server and print from a computer on the network. But users can just as easily send their documents to a PC and print from it.
At this time, there just is not one clear solution for users of the iPad. Although there are specific printers that work seamlessly, it will probably take some time for a developer to make one that is universal.