updated 02:40 am EST, Fri December 10, 2010
Firmware update increases compatible list
Three weeks ago, in response to a frustrated customer complaining about how few printers initially supported iOS 4.2's AirPrint feature, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promised "lots more coming soon." While it may not yet be anyone's idea of "lots more," earlier today HP -- the only company that has shipped Airprint-compatible printers so far -- updated six more models via software upgrades to increase the number of officially compatible printers to 18.
The models upgraded, first reported by Gadget Avenue, are all-in-one (AIO) models, including the the Officejet 6500A and 6500A Plus; the Officejet 7500A Wide Format; and the Officejet Pro 8500A, 8500A Plus, and 8500A Premium,
AirPrint works with a larger variety of printers when connected to an Airport base station, or wired to a Mac and "shared" over a network, but the promise of AirPrint is that eventually most new printers will print truly wirelessly -- without supporting devices, ie "out of the box." Jobs described this eventual change as "driverless printing" which he called "huge."
Apple published the specifications of AirPrint upon its introduction, but so far no other companies have actually issued updates to make their printers AirPrint-compatible. Third parties have released several software solutions that enable AirPrint compatibility for other printers.