The Apple iPhone; the perfect 3G mobile phone which combines top of the line mobile communications technology, an integrated iPod and fast internet connectivity – well almost perfect.
Unfortunately, and much to the disappointment of many iPhone users, Apple neglected to include a direct print application on the iPhone and therefore printing photographs, web content and contacts lists is incredibly low tech for such a high specification mobile phone. You have transfer your data from the iPhone to your computer and then print as you would any other resident data file.
Well there is some good news: 3 companies have recognised the need for wireless printing from the Apple iPhone and have produced some relatively good applications.
1. Air Photo
In direct competition with HP’s iPrint Photo is River Past Corporation’s Air Photo. This app also enables wireless printing from your iPhone, however it is capable of printing to any available printer.
In addition to this obvious advantage over the HP product is the ability to have full control over the printer settings. Air Photo will also automatically rotate the photograph for printing and you can also scale and crop photographs prior to print – all from your iPhone.
The major drawback with Air Photo is that you need to install both a server and client application. The server application is installed on your computer which is connected to your printer, and the client application is installed on your iPhone. It may sound over-complicated and effort intensive but it is actually very easy to install and once the applications have been installed, no further action is required. You simply select the photograph you want to print on your iPhone and the application will automatically assign the print job to an available printer on the network.
As with the HP iPrint Photo application you are only able to print photographs and not web pages or any other data, however the fact that you can print to any available printer and it gives you cropping and white space control does make this a winning wireless print application. This application can be purchased for just $1.99 from the App Store.
Before parting with your money though, also check that your operating system is compatible. Windows XP or Vista is recommended for PC users and OS X 10.5 (PPC and Leopard) for Apple Mac users.
There was much excitement when HP announced the launch of their HP iPrint Photo application, which was developed specifically for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. With this app iPhone users could now print their photographs directly from their mobile phone, without having to transfer the photographs to a computer first.
The application is available for free and can be installed from the App Store, which can be accessed directly from your iPhone or iPod Touch, and it can also be accessed via iTunes on your computer.
HP iPrint Photo enables users to print 4×6 inch photographs directly to a compatible HP inkjet printer. The application is easy to install and as it makes use of Apple’s Bonjour technology, allowing it to automatically detect any compatible printers on your wireless network so there is no additional setup required.
In order to use HP’s iPrint Photo application, your iPhone or iPod Touch firmware must be version 2.0 or later and you must have an HP compatible printer.
This is a very handy application to have on your iPhone. The download and installation process is easy and it only takes a matter of minutes and you are able to print out borderless 4×6 inch photographs. The print quality is excellent and the whole printing process is faster than expected.
There are a few minor gripes however as you can only print 4×6 inch photographs and there are no low HP cartridge warning messages. A slightly more disappointing factor is that only photographs can be printed wirelessly. If you want to print web pages or your contacts list then you still have to follow the low tech route of transferring your files to a computer.
Overall the HP iPrint Photo application is reliable, efficient, simple to use and well worth downloading onto your iPhone. Oh, and did I mention that it is also free!
One wireless printing application that has taken the iPhone world by surprise is the aptly named ‘Print’. Created by EuroSmartz, this application is said to be able to print photographs; web pages and contacts over cellular and Wi-Fi networks.
Utilising a similar technology to Air Photo, both a server and a client application have to be installed before you can print from your iPhone using the Print app. The application is also independent of the printer which means that you can print to any available printer on the network. The only requirement is that the computer’s operating system is either Windows XP or Vista for PC users and OS X 10.4 of OS X 10.5 for Apple users.
EuroSmartz also claim that the latest version of the software, Print & Share, is capable of printing emails, although they stress that the emails need to be accessed directly through the application due to interface restrictions on the iPhone’s built-in Apple mail application.
Although the setup of Print can be slightly tricky and it does cost more than Air Photo, at $2.99, this application is definitely worth having if you want to print more than just photographs wirelessly from your iPhone.
Even though Apple have yet to include printer drivers in the iPhone, and rumour has it that there won’t be for some time yet, at least these 3 wireless printing applications address some of the frustration for those iPhone fans who want the print functionality. Whether you want to print just photographs or if you want to print out web page content, these 3 sound applications will not disappoint you.