iOS 4.2 out… home runs in all categories…except iPrint

Well, iOS 4.2 is out and got it all installed last night on every device I had. After I was done, even the wife was using Airplay to stream music to the Airport Express with her iPhone and we were both watching This Week in Tech (TWIT) by streaming it from my MacBook to the Apple TV. I know, I could have just cranked up the episode on the Apple TV itself, but this was just a test and it worked flawlessly.

I was thoroughly impressed with all the features that the update had, especially Airplay, but I’ll get right down to what I really was disgusted about. It was no surprise that Airprint was scaled back at the last minute from this release and that being able to print from a shared printer on another computer was not included, but let’s also look at some other limitations.

  • Airprint cannot use a standard printer connected to your Wifi unless it supports Airprint. (HP has the only ones right now)
  • Airprint cannot use a printer attached to Airport Extreme, Airport Express and Time Capsule. Now this makes sense since this is basically an extension of printer sharing, but that doesn’t mean I have to dislike it any less.

It’s seems as if Apple was merely trying to help prop up HP printer sales by releasing Airprint in this fashion. Needless to say, I am not happy about it since my HP printer is only a year old and is wireless on my network and Windows and Mac OS both print to it just fine… iPrint should have been removed from the release until you could support printers attached to Apple hardware at least. Releasing a feature that requires a new printer, well is just a one-off and appears to be a marketing ploy concocted by HP.

Enough with my ranting and I’ll get back to praising the other features. I just can’t say enough about Airplay. This has revolutionized my home experience. Being able to project from one device to another over wifi is just
the pinnacle for me. Before you Windows fanboys and hackers get started, I know that this functionality has been around for a while, but it required me to work too hard. I look at a computer screen all day, I don’t need to go home and stare blindly at another trying to figure these things out. Apple makes this very easy…

Where do we go from here?

Now that the release is out, he is what I want to see happen in the near future.

  • Release iPrint that supports computers attached to other Apple Devices at least and soon.
  • Release a version of Airport Express that has an HDMI output so that I can just hook that up to a TV in another room. (This may not happen as it might limit apple TV sales and of course, for the price of the device, which would probably be $99, you could just buy another $99 Apple TV)
  • I’d like to see a convergence of features in Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Time Capsule, etc. I doubt this will ever happen, but having all the features in a single device would be much better than having multiples plugged in, but there are some factors that would make this difficult, e.g. what would happen to Apple TV viewing when Time Capsule started to run on the same box…it prob couldn’t handle it.

¬†Overall iOS 4.2 is a spectacular update and other tablet makers are going to struggle even further now. I’ll paraphrase something that Andy Ihnatko said in his blog; this update is going to push the emergence of a competing tablet out six more months. I wonder if Andy knows that Oprah, endorsed iPad as her favorite thing of all time. That could push it out another year or two…