Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking back on 2007 -- iPhone Printing

Reflecting back on all the news from the printing and imaging industry in 2007 is a bit overwhelming. In my recent post (and Hard Copy Observer print column) about the Amazon Kindle, I summarized a few of these important hardware developments in the opening paragraph.

But one of of my most popular posts of the year, based on search results and keyword analysis, was my July 19 entry entitled "iPhone Printing". That post, and a few follow-ups, has been a consistently popular Web destination, which tells me there is definitely a demand for printing from the iPhone. Unfortunately, that post offers no solution for the unmet user need to print from an Apple iPhone, just relates the possible opportunity. Later in the year, I went back and forth with HP and their Print 2.0 blog, where Patrick Scaglia offered the promise of HP's Cloudprint solution, which promised a way to direct previously created documents to local printers, but not the kind of quick on-demand iPhone printing that others may have in mind.

So I'll make it a 2008 resolution to spend at least a bit of my time (and space in this blog) to champion the cause, for iPhone users like me to be able to get at least a quick print solution for the iPhone, and also check in on the HP Cloudprint solution that seems to have remained rather dormant since the company's flurry of activity in August/September.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, Great blog - thank you. Are you concluding that the popularity of your blog post pertaining to iPhone printing means there is high end user demand for such a feature? Isn't it also possible that the post's higher hits are driven by the printing industry types and not iPhone users? I personally do not feel the need to print from my cell phone/PDA nor my camera. For that matter, I rarely feel the need to print from my computers. But, being inside the industry myself I can certainly believe there is much interest/demand on behalf of the printer manufacturers to provide a printing solution, hoping if they build it, "they" will come... Anyway, wanted to offer an alternative theory to consider from the fact you provided.

Jim Lyons said...

Thanks for the comment and the kind words. Yes, I agree that your supposition that it's likely that a large portion of my "iPhone printing" hits are from printer industry folks, rather than iPhone users. Perhaps my conclusion that this proves there's "definitely a demand for printing from the iPhone" would have been more accurate if I added these words: "definitely a demand for information about printing from the iPhone" -- this would cover those wanting iPhone printing for their own use and those wanting to provide it. The "build it and they will come" comment is a good one too. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

What do you think about small (Not bigger than Iphone itself) mobile printer?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is a getting a bit ridiculous. Apple is a bit of a control freak. There is a real need for extensions to the OS that allow for all manner of additions. Printing, voice dialing, etc. If Apple wants to add these features, then fine, but if not, they should open it up to third parties. In the long, this will be a huge hit to the platform, because the large success of the Palm platform was in the growth of specialized vertical apps.

My application requires a printout at the end of an event. Right now, I use Palm devices, but there are many wins to having a networked and more modern device like the iPhone. But not without printing.

I think that if one wants to hack up a Wi-Fi base state with a printer, it would be possible to generate a TCP/IP socket that one could write to from the iPhone and get some sort of printing. But that is a lot of reinventing of the wheel, when it is all in Mac OS X already.

It's upsetting that Apple has not seen this and other major limitations for real world developers.