Why is printing such a difficult task in iPhone OS

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jhoffy, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. jhoffy macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2009
    Shouldn't this be a standard feature on any OS? I mean, I need to print my airline tickets from the Delta website and it's just a tour-du-force. I gave up and grabbed my lap top.

    I think if the iPad is ever going to be a laptop substitute in even the basic form, printing is a necessity. Just printing Via WiFi would be fine.

  2. 0s and 1s macrumors 6502a

    0s and 1s

    Mar 7, 2004
    OK, USA
  3. The Mad Hatter macrumors 6502a

    The Mad Hatter

    Oct 12, 2004
    First off, it's not supposed to be a "substitute" for a desktop/laptop. It's meant to do the everyday things that don't need the horsepower of a laptop/desktop. Basically, a hand-held internet appliance. That being said...

    ..as for printing. Like the above poster said, "drivers." That is if you want to print directly from the iPad to the printer via wireless or USB (the iPad is doing the heavy-lifting.)

    However, like the iPhone/iPod Touch, you will most likely (I'm not sure, as I don't have mine yet) be able to print to Mac "shared" printers via Bonjour. This can be done via 3rd party apps (ie. AirSharing, ezShare, etc.) since the host Mac does all the heavy-lifting. Hopefully these apps can be updated to take advantage of the new file sharing feature of the iPad. As you have to get the file into these apps in order to print it. Otherwise, you will need a intermediary solution to upload the file from the creation app, and download into the printing app (ie. MobileMe, Dropbox, WLAN, etc.)

    This is just one way of doing it. Hopefully, someone will come up with a more streamlined way of doing it.

  4. jhoffy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2009
    When I said substitute, I realize it won't be able to do complex functions like a laptop, etc. I realize the difference, however I was hoping to take it with me for certain things during the day, where I don't need my laptop. Streamlining the ability to print is not a process that should be difficult to implement on this device, but really hinders the ability to leave your laptop in the hotel and take the iPad with you in it's place. Printing, for me, and probably many users, would allow that to happen. I'm not asking for it to do complex data crunching, or complex graphic creation, etc. Just the ability to print via Bluetooth or wifi a web page, a flight ticket, a PowerPoint or word document, etc.

    Not much, in my opinion to ask for.
  5. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Drivers are only an issue if you consider that manufacturers would have to re-jigger theirs for the iPad.

    But drivers themselves aren't an issue. Just like an app, if Apple wanted to, they could allow you to load specific drivers you needed via iTunes just like any app, music, movie, etc.

    To date, clearly they have decided not to.
  6. zacksba Guest

    I use an app called ePrint. There is a free version to try it out with your printer to make sure it works. I print to my wifes wireless HP printer. I do not know if it has any document print support as I have never needed to try it before I got the iPad (I used it on the Touch), but it does print web pages, contacts, notes, photos.

    The web page printing was the reason I originally bought it. Hopoe that helps someone.
  7. jhoffy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2009
    I appreciate the feedback as there are a few printing apps in the app store, but they all seem to have their problems.... No one seems to be happy with any of them. I just think this should be an apple thing imbedded into all the apps that need to print, not a developer's attempt to work around Apple. Kinda like cut and paste.
  8. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    I wouldn't mind it if there was some way to print using shared printers on your Mac.

    But otherwise, have you looked at the size of the /Library/Printers/ folder on your Mac?
  9. 4DThinker macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2008
    Printing on a PC is essentially multitasking. So far the iPhone OS has no way to call another task from within one. On an iMac or PC you start a print job from within any app that needs to print. The printer driver/service runs in the background while you run along merrily within your app. Apple stripped out as many services as it could to streamline the iphone OS, and printing was one of them.
  10. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    I've wondered, in this age of cheap flash memory and tiny CPUs, why can't printers host their own driver?
  11. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    But like someone said, Apple could easily implement a way so that when you need to print to a specific printer, you simply download that specific driver from a database on the internet. That way you wouldn't have to store hundreds of printer drivers you will never use.

    I don't understand why Apple doesn't do this type of system with Macs. Including all the printer drivers made sense before the internet, but now you can easily download any driver you need from the net, and its just a waste of space including printer drivers with the operating system.
  12. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    I guess you missed the memo?

  13. wilycoder macrumors 6502

    Aug 4, 2008
  14. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    Doesn't work that way. Drivers are for a host system to communicate to the machine. Drivers are written specifically for the system that it's running on. The better solution is what Bodhi395 suggusted.

    There might also be a small matter of someone actually adapting a driver for each of the printers for ARM.
  15. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Does the OP know that Delta (and most other airlines) allows you to display your boarding pass on your portable device as an alternative to printing?

    Doesn't take away from the original complaint, but may eliminate the need for this specific item to be printed.
  16. wmcy macrumors member

    Feb 12, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Boarding Pass on Mobile Devices

    I didn't know this. Great news.

    Just so that I am clear, with Delta, if you've downloaded your boarding pass via online check-in, you simply show the pass on your iPhone/iPad and you're allowed to board?

    I fly US Air and want to pursue the option there.

    Thanks for any clarity.


  17. scsjason macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2009
    Isn't that what we used to do in the days of postscript printers . . . you just dumped your postscript file on the printer and let it sort it out? Made printers more expensive and people figured you could make a cheaper printer and do the hard work on your PC instead . . .
  18. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009

    I would call the terminal and ask them. I am not sure if all terminals can do this.

    As a back-up, you can always print a quick boarding pass at those self-serve kiosks. Takes probably 2 minutes total...check in online, but print when you get to the terminal..if you need to print. :cool:
  19. Bodhi395 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
    Nice, I thought it just installed all the printer drivers, not just the ones for printers installed on your computer. So people complaining about drivers taking up too much room are misguided.

    That's the printer manufacturer's problem though, not Apple's. Apple could simply allow native printing on the iPad, and provide a service that will host printer drivers for people to download when they need them. I'm sure alot of printer manufacturers would immediatly begin making printer drivers for the ipad.

    Even if they would be slow to do it, I would like Apple to give them the option.

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