No printing from the iPad. None.

No printing from the iPad. None.

Summary: There's no doubt the iPad is a beautiful toy. But without printing, that's exactly what it remains. A toy.

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Special Report: Apple iPad

I was just watching a great introduction to the iPad with Alex Lindsay and Andy Ihnatko where Andy revealed that the iPad can't print.

Period.

At some point, some applications might individually support printing, but the iPad comes with no printer drivers and has no capability whatsoever for printing.

Ihnatko described it as a way to make sure the iPad stayed stable, but that's one feature that destroys the premise of the iPad as a replacement computer for people who just want a simple computer to read email, use Facebook, Twitter, and browse. At some point, everyone needs to print.

It also severely limits the iPad's use in government and enterprise. To bring documents into the iPad, the primary mechanism is iTunes, which is, itself, quite limiting. I think most of us just assumed easy printing would be a no brainer -- what with Bluetooth and WiFi on the device.

There's no doubt the iPad is a beautiful toy. But without printing, that's exactly what it remains. A toy.

Update: We may have a winner. I've gotten a number of reports of an app called PrintCentral that provides printing services for the iPad (and iPhone). It's $9.99 and may solve this problem. If it does, it's well worth the price. Honestly, I'm relieved, because despite the naysaying (my own included), I really do want this form-factor to succeed.

Disclosure: the author derives a small personal income from Apple iPhone applications.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Banking, Data Management, iPad, Mobility, Software

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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Talkback

69 comments
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  • iLame -nt

    no text
    Tom12Tom
    • Makes no difference

      You're talking religious fervor here, and like any other religious person, an Apple follower could care less about the lack of USB, Flash support, swappable battery, or printing. The logical argument carries little weight. They have faith, and faith is all they need.

      I personally think the pad is going to fall flat on its face, but that's only my hunch. It may very well be that religious fervor carries the day. We'll see...
      Dorkyman
      • Gee...

        I guess you'll feel like a dork when the iPad succeeds,
        huh?

        Oh, wait...
        Jkirk3279
  • So much for the "magical" device...

    ...and the enterprise is going to eat this up right? And I suppose no one in the enterprise community ever prints anything. Oh yea that's right...the world has gone "paperless". Sure.

    Do the initials N.F.W. mean anything?

    And all the pundits (MANY here at ZDNet) who have been getting all wet over this iPud, proclaiming that the healthcare industry would be the biggest adopters of this piece of crap, just how many times does a healthcare provider need to PRINT something?

    Once again...the world has gone ape$hit over an Apple device, only to discover it is about as useful as t*ts on a bull.

    But that's OK...because after everyone has wasted their money on iPud 1.0...Apple will put some "missing features" in iPud 2.0...the Apple Lemmings will again flock to the stores to get that one...only to find out that it still can't do half of what a REAL computing device can do. Or, users will have to PAY for an app to do what should be a standard feature in the first place.

    Then six months later...Apple releases iPud 3.0 with a few more bones thrown to the unwashed millions...and probably with a substantial price REDUCTION...and as always with people who have more money than brains...the iPud 3.0 will fly off the shelves.

    What a bunch of losers.
    IT_Guy_z
    • Can you not....

      express your views without the venom and condescension. It does make YOU look like a "loser".

      I am not an Apple fan and I am not about to buy an iPad, but putting down everything and everybody which do not meet with your approval is a bit harsh and pretty immature.
      Economister
      • Since when did you learn to walk on water? (nt)

        ...
        ths40
      • Well put

        I'm all for keeping a civil and mature tone.
        gtaylor2
      • Subtle?

        Most times subtle does not work. A lot of times it
        requires the baseball bat. There is reason and
        then there is OCD, in which category do you put
        the Apple fanboys?
        bigpicture
        • What is supposed to "work"?

          This was a totally unprovoked attack. I have been very harsh on posters from time to time, but I try to only do it in response to what I consider very aggressive or otherwise unreasonable posts.

          I get the very distinct impression that you somehow feel that you need to reform the so called Apple fanboys to make them more reasonable. There are "OCD" cases in all three camps (Apple, MS and OSS). I see Apple nuts, I see MS nuts and I see OSS nuts. In this case the poster apparently felt the need to attack not just the "Apple nuts", but all Apple users. In the end, he just succeeded in making himself look like a nut. Hardly the way to go if your objective is to "reform" people.
          Economister
    • Losers?

      No, they are not losers, in real life have you met those purchasers, are
      they losers, or are they purchasers of products that you don't like? For
      not seeing a products' potential could it be you are a loser?

      You are correct, with printing missing. Maybe the next version of the
      iPad OS perhaps.

      That what limits your credibility is using iPud rather than iPad, much
      as ABM use Micro$oft, Windoz, and the like. You come across quite
      childish and immature.
      BubbaJones_
    • Then don't...

      buy it. It's that simple. No one is putting a gun to your head making you. How about letting those that did (or are going to) buy it enjoy their purchase? As for me, I'll wait for the next gen and see what features will be included that will be useful to my needs. I'll decide for myself. Your apparent loathing for Apple won't decide for me.
      Dave32265
    • Ok Hitler.

      So everyone must conform to your buying habits, and right now I am displaying a finger for you,
      and it is surrounded by 2 fingers on either side.

      Yes printing could and would be very useful on the iPad, but what is the framework in which
      this device was released? Could it be a Consumer Entertainment device? And was printing ever
      really contemplated as being available on this device? No not really as neither the iPhone or
      iPod Touch have printing capability, which is the OS on which iPad is built.

      Your definition of a "Real Computing Device" is a 4lb brick running Windows Desktop OS.

      Who knows, perhaps a software generation later or two they will enable some kind of printing
      capability. Personally, I don't print much. I may print 10 pages per month at work or less, and
      at home, is null, not enough to justify owning a printer anymore. I keep one around for just in
      case, but more often then not, the ink dries up before I even really use it.

      However, there is a printing solution from Cortado, that works with iPhone OS, and likely the
      iPad, and it is free.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • So I guess this would be your IQ? ROTFLMAO :D

        "and right now I am displaying a finger for you,
        and it is surrounded by 2 fingers on either side."
        IT_Guy_z
      • Wow, Godwin's law on the first-level reply.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law
        Real World
    • But the Apple stuff still sells...

      and I know it drives you enterprise nerds crazy.
      frankz00
  • print server???

    ever heard of one??? deconstructing the computer will have some side effects. No fan of ipad, or apple, too expensive, but who's to say you cant send your printing home? I'm sure they'll be an app for that.
    sparkle farkle
  • RE: No printing from the iPad. None.

    Well let's see there is ePrint for the iPhone. I'm fairly certain
    that a third party printer will be forthcoming from companies
    such as Microtech a Japanese based company which makes
    ePrint. So, if there isn't presently a printing solution, no
    doubt there will be one fairly soon.
    czarembo1
    • Yet another add-on I have to buy?

      That's fine, but making consumers buy what should've come with the device is insane.

      For a company that touts is user-friendliness, they sure do make it hard on their customers!
      tricktytom
      • You'd be the same one...

        ...complaining about paying for all kinds of features that you never use. Kinda like how MS bundles everything and the kitchen sink and it bogs down the whole system...plus you cant pick and choose yourself which utility/feature implementation you like best. Seems to me its better to not graft things on right away, than to glue them on and do it poorly. KISS. Apple has great usability because of its focus on the core capabilities and interface, and not trying to own every possible feature or application.

        All that said...printing does seem like a more basic capability. But let's wait and see how things unfold. They may have held off inclusion as a standard feature because of forthcoming downloadable (free?) print apps from several major printer manufacturers?
        Techboy_z
      • Ooooooh 99 cents!

        Oh no! I have to pay 99 cents for an app to
        print! That's really going to break the bank!
        Damn that Obama!
        frankz00