Enable iPad Printing Support On Any Network Based Printer

When schools look to deploy iPads, they often assume it can print to their current networked printers. They are generally disappointed to find out that it cannot. I think that multi-function printer (MFP) vendors should be providing firmware upgrades to enable AirPrint, but they probably wont be. MFP vendors are historically pretty slow on new technology. I have seen some that claim to offer iPad printing, but they doing it through a separate iPad app that you must save your documents to before printing. This solution is pretty worthless. AirPrint aims to remove the complexity out of printing (drivers, complex settings, etc), so adding a middle-man app is a step backwards.

This is where Printopia 2 for Mac and Printopia Pro solve a complex problem with an easy solution. They are software based applications that run on any modern Mac (or Mac server). It basically creates an 'AirPrint server' on the Mac that iOS can print through (using the Mac drivers). Smaller schools will be able to get by with the non-Pro version, but more complex networks will likely need the Pro version. You can read about the differences here. The Pro version ranges from $80 to $500 depending on the desired features. The education discount knocks it down to a range of $59 to $389. The non-Pro version is only $20. There are free demos of both.

It's incredibly simple to use from an installation and end user standpoint. iPhones and iPads automatically find the printers (assuming they are on the same network) and it just works. While I have only used the non-Pro version (we don't need the Pro features), I can't imagine it's incredibly difficult to setup either way. It's a really inexpensive way to enable AirPrint on any network based printer. I actually just have it running on the Mac that I use for Apple Configurator. If you have any questions, the FAQ is a great place to start.