Since iOS 4.2 was released, and AirPrint with it, I’ve wondered whether we’d see an update for the Airport Extreme and Airport Express that would allow AirPrint to USB connected printers, but finding any information on it yielded just speculation about the issue.
So, having never done it before (short of emailing my displeasure about the Xserve being discontinued a bit ago), I shot off an email to [email protected] asking.
What I sent was:
AirPrint seems like a pretty darn cool technology, but it seems rather limited in scale at the moment.
Will we see the ability to AirPrint to printers connected to Airport Extreme/Express base stations over USB anytime soon?
I really didn’t expect a response, but about 6 hours later I got this:
No. AirPrint is a new driverless printer architecture and and requires new printers.
Sent from my iPhone
Which, was pretty damn sweet (he responded at 12:09am, PST). I don’t doubt Steve knows what he’s talking about, since he has no doubt gotten several briefings on AirPrint, but it does seem hard to believe a translation layer couldn’t fit on the Airport Extreme/Express that would allow AirPrint to work. But, for now, I’ll just have to take his word for it.
If that is indeed the case, it kinda sucks. While I could easily put a new printer on my wireless network, a corporate environment isn’t going to want to put some printer on their wireless network if they can avoid it. Plus, that wireless network probably isn’t shared with their wired network (it certainly isn’t where I work). So I guess the hope is we’ll see the 10.7 print server support AirPrint, and AirPrint hopefully broadened to support non-bonjour (mDNS) discoverable printers (since the print server isn’t on the wireless network either). But, it’s a first step. =)
I have shared the above email and headers with AppleInsider. I assure you, I didn’t fabricate the email (I have no incentive to). I’d post the headers here, but it seems kind of, silly on my own site. I trust me.