Apple filed a bunch of patents last week for various software, showing its intention on making the iPhone and iPad capable of controlling anything with electrons running through it in a two-block radius.
Among all the cool things you could one day be able to control from your iPhone (which includes closed-circuit television security systems and your neighbor’s car) are printers. Apple also is updating patents for its AirPrint service. The company has listed AirPrint, which will let you print from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, as part of its iOS 4.2 update coming in November.
Printing from iPhones is an interesting concept that apparently lots of people want to be in on. Epson released an app earlier this month that makes iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch capable of printing all manner of documents on Wi-Fi enabled Epson printers. Among the things you can turn material from your phone are pictures, Gmail messages, Word documents and PDF files. Epson’s PrintJinni costs $6.99.
Along with Epson, HP is working on its own native printer app, even though it’s already signed up with AirPrint for its ePrint line. HP’s new printers will be able to access the Internet and the company reports it has already sold about 5 million of those, with projections to hit 15 million by the end of the year.
If printer companies are going to stay relevant, this is their method. Considering that iPads seem to be taking a big bite out of netbook and e-reader sales, printer companies need to find a good way to keep people using paper when they could be looking at screens. This is specifically true with iPad screens.The answer: Rapid-fire photo and document printing from the same devices people are using to keep connected.
The ability to catch an e-mail, read it over, and send it to be printed back at the office has legs, especially in industries that require hardcopy documents. And quality photo printing from iPhones has the potential to be huge among all customers, professional and consumer alike.
It’ll be interesting to see how printer companies continue to adapt their technology to the increasingly mobile world – and if it’ll mean advancements in mobile printers to go with mobile printing.