When it comes down to it there are currently six HP printers which are adapted to use AirPrint, but first I think it’s important to explain a little about what it is. Firstly they’re nothing to do with the HP portable printer product line, they’re not portable at all but the are wireless.
Apple essentially wanted to increase the business and pleasure related usability of their Ipod Touch, Iphone and Ipad range by allowing them to wirelessly print of work or photos. Now just remember that for the time being Apple doesn’t stock their own printers, but they wanted to allow people the opportunity to be able to print from their Apple device in a way which was easy, convenient and just as importantly, cool too. They went to HP (and they’ve just gone to Epson) and formed a partnership whereby they allowed HP to create printers which specifically were able to use AirPrint. Remember that only AirPrint enabled printers can actually use it – ordinary wireless printers just won’t allow it. Hewlett-Packard hence create a line of 6 printers designed to cater from person to corporate use which allowed people to use their Apple devices and print using a wireless access point.
What is AirPrint?
AirPrint is essentially a plugin which allows you to quickly send whatever it is you want printing to your specific AirPrint enabled printer. Both the printer and your device are connected to your wireless access point (usually a home network), and by pressing just a few buttons you can send whatever it is you want printing to your printer to carry out. You can then keep on browsing or playing games – it doesn’t interrupt what you’re doing or require much focus or attention. There are a few reasons they’ve introduced this, the first being that it eliminates the need for printer drivers. Printer drivers can definitely be a source of hassle and I don’t think anyone would disagree that they can be irritating to find, download and install. This useful Apple plugin takes care of everything and it’s simply a tool for convenience and ease of use.
Hewlett-packard has six different designs which are pictured above. Now remember there are no other printers which can utilize AirPrint that can be produced independently of Apple’s authentication. You can’t just use AirPrint with a regular wireless printer, they don’t have Bluetooth and they’re certainly not portable. They must be HP AirPrint Printers and if any hacks of jailbreaks occur then I’ll be the first t change this page.
Epson has several designs and if you want you can check out my reviews for their own devices.
When it comes down to it there are some real strengths and weaknesses involved here. A weakness I’ll point out right away is that if I’m being honest several of the printers which HP have produced are definitely sub standard. I recognize immediately that this is their first step into an Apple collaborated printer but nevertheless it’s no excuse to keep selling inferior products – and I’d say definitely one and perhaps two of their printers are nowhere near the quality their should be considering the price.
When it comes down to it you’re paying a premium value of around double the price for a few key aspects. You’re paying for the style – these printers definitely keep in line with Apple’s popular aesthetic decorum and they’re sexy to look at. You’re paying for what I like to call the ‘cool’ factor, their wireless access is cool (but not uncommon in modern printers), and AirPrint itself is a useful toy. But don’t be fooled into thinking you’re buying something which is a genuine step up from anything. You’re buying a few new cool toys, and that’s it. Ultimately the fact that Apple limits their devices to not allow printing from regular printers is a purposeful construct designed to allow them to make money, nothing more.
A serious question to ask yourself is whether you actually need to print anything from your devices. Unless you work on them a lot and you need to print that work of you’re not going to be printing of anything you couldn’t do the good old fashioned way with a desktop computer and printer. These printers don’t have especially high resolutions, they’re not a massive step forward even though the AirPrint software is cool and ultimately they don’t really bring that much to the table.
Nevertheless Apple has a hardcore dedicated fan base and there’s no doubt in my mind they’ll make the sales for their overpriced, glamorous looking printer based on this. If you’re looking for a ‘real’ printer which is wireless then simply go to Amazon, search for ‘wireless printer’, narrow your choices down to 4+ stars and you’ll be able to find a superior options at half the price in no time. These are toys for most people. Most people don’t do serious work on their Ipads – let’s be honest shall we.