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A few years ago, when the iPod touch and iPhone came, their inability to print left the users complaining. However, I had a fixed idea that a printer is always used with a nearby computer. Today, with apps like Documents To Go, Numbers and Pages, which enable you to ‘author’ documents on the iPad, it is time to find some options for printing with an iPad.

Unlike the PC or Mac, printing is not yet supported by iOS. Therefore, printing can only be done through an outside application, which would still be limited to the extent to which the iOS Software Developer Kit or SDK will allow. Further, they may not be able to move documents from one application to another in an easy manner, though there is an improvement in iPad and iOS 4 using the ‘Open In’ command. In the Pages app, you can move your documents through iTunes and USB, and save the document in the app itself or send it through an email or at the iWork website. As Pages does not support ‘Open In’ command, you may print only after emailing the document to yourself on your iPad as a Word document or PDF, from the iPad, and using the ‘Open In’ command to open it on an outside printing app.

You may print wirelessly (WiFi) to the network printer or a shared printer connecting a Mac, without the need for any specific installations on the Mac. I use a Xerox Phaser 8550DP network with Postscript color printer plugged in to the network through Ethernet, so that the printer can be driven without a computer. The ePrint recognized the Xerox Phaser as well as the Epson Stylus R1800 shared through USB, and a test page was done in a few seconds.

With the built-in support features, it can print pictures from Photos on an iDevice. It can also print Contacts, and text from Clipboard Photo calendar or the Photo Card created from the App, including a web page from a built-in browser. A built-in Notes application allows composing text for printing so that text need not be created elsewhere and brought in. Border or borderless options are available along with adequate support for paper sizes.

PDF is also supported by ePrint. Using the iOS ‘Open In ‘facility on the iOS 4 or iPad, you can directly bring documents from a MobileMe iDisk and any WebDAV server. However, ePrint doesn’t function with all printers. So check for compatible printers or download the free version for trial and then purchase an advanced one.

If you need to print much from an iDevice, ePrint is fine until Apple offers its own printing support. It would have been better if its built-in web browser accessed my bookmarks, and if the Notes app saw my Notes from iOS. Otherwise, ePrint is a perfect choice. Print and Share offers advanced printing at twice the price (6.99 dollars) and offers more print-based features. But ePrint is more than enough for an average user.

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