I wanted to print something from my iPad the other day. And I couldn’t do it; not directly, at least. And this is Apple’s fault.
I can print from my MacBook Pro or my Mac mini to a printer connected to my AirPort Extreme base station. But I can’t print from an iPad or iPhone to that device. Why not?
Apple has a system called AirPrint, which lets you print from iOS devices – or Macs – to certain printers. The problem is, these have to be AirPrint printers; presumably models that have paid Apple to license this technology.
Why hasn’t Apple just built this into OS X and their AirPort base stations? I can’t imagine they make a lot from licensing AirPrint. And iOS device users are unlikely to want to spend what it costs to get a new printer, just to occasionally print a web page or document.
Printer sharing works extremely well on Macs and with AirPort base stations. When I needed a new printer recently, the only AirPrint models I could find locally didn’t suit my requirements, so I bought a Brother laser printer, which I connect to my AirPort base station. And whenever I do want to print something from my iPad – or when my girlfriend, who doesn’t have a computer, and only uses an iPad – wants to print something, I need to send a link to a web page, or send a PDF or other document.
It seems like sharing printers to iOS devices should be a no-brainer. Is Apple really not doing this just because of some licensing fees?
Note: You can do this quite easily with the $20 Printopia; to be honest, I don’t need to print enough to want to spend $20 for a third-party solution. But if it’s that simple, then why doesn’t Apple provide this as a standard feature?