Would you like to be able to print from your iPhone or iPad? There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Here’s an overview of some of them.
Buy a New Printer with AirPrint or HP ePrint
If you are buying a new printer, make sure that printer supports either AirPrint or HP ePrint. AirPrint is a feature Apple introduced in iOS version 4.2. It permits iPhones or iPads to print to a wireless (aka Wi-Fi) printer via a wireless router. AirPrint does not support printing directly from the iPhone or iPad to the printer. Instead the print job gets sent to the wireless router which then passes it along to the printer.
HP ePrint is a collection of printing technologies developed by Hewlett Packard. Printers that support HP ePrint can be assigned their own, unique email address. Once this is set up, one can send print jobs to the printer from an iPhone or iPad. This requires iOS version 4.2 or higher installed on the iPhone or iPad as well as an Internet connection.
Use An Existing Printer
The solutions described above are well and good if you’re buying a new printer, but what if you want to continue to use a printer you already own? There are a few options. If you own a Mac, you could install Printopia on it. Printopia essentially turns your Mac into an AirPrint server. This will enable your iPhone or iPad to print to your printer via your Mac. You could install this on either a desktop or laptop Mac. One caveat is that the Mac must be present on the same network at the same time as the iPad or iPhone for Printopia to work. (This means that if you take your laptop to different location outside your wireless network’s range, you won’t be able to print until the laptop is present again.) Printopia is free to try for 7 days. After you’ve tested it, you can buy it for $19.95. Printopia supports USB printers and network printers connected wirelessly or using an ethernet cable.
PrinterPro is an iOS app that works with wireless printers. (It works with USB printers if you install a free app on your Mac or PC). You can download a free version, named PrinterPro Lite, to see if your printer is supported. If so, then you could buy PrinterPro for $7. This app should let you print email messages, web pages and some types of files including these types: PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, TXT, HTML and JPG.
Lantronix XPrint Server is the most expensive option listed is not cost-effective in many situations since it costs around $200. In my mind, it makes sense if you have two or more printers in your home or office. The XPrint Server is essentially an external AirPrint server. It works with thousands of USB and network (both wired and wireless) printers. Lantronix provides a list of supported printers.
Whatever your situation, one of the products listed should meet your needs and allow you to print from your iPhone or iPad.