More than anything Apple are desperate to convince people that the iPad is a computer and not, as naysayer’s would suggest, an expensive toy. To do that the iPad is going to have to do all the things a normal computer can do and one of those functions is printing.
Many were surprised that there wasn’t a printing utility of some sort built into the iPad’s version of iOS, but that gap has been duly filled by a slew of third party apps, chief among the early pretenders is Print Central.
Not just a printing utility, Print Central has a fair few extra functions built into it, and some of which are actually quite useful.
To print using Print Central directly you’ll need a wireless or Bluetooth-enabled printer. Indirectly, you can use any printer connected to a PC or Mac with the WePrint printer server installed, which is available as a free download – and essentially turns you bog standard printer into a wireless one. Not bad.
The printing function works pretty seamlessly and prints are perfect quality. There are also a variety of well-executed and simple printing options that you can alter before you get your ink on.
But what are you going to print? Well you can quite simply print most native, compatible iPad files, such as your pictures or anything you’ve got saved in say Pages. But what Print Central ingeniously does is let you login to your remote documents. So anything you’ve got on your computer’s hard drive (which you can connect to over your wireless network) but also your cloud docs, such as Dropbox, Box.net, iDisk and Google Docs – and this is mega-handy.
But not only that, Print Central also has a in-built web-browser, contacts, image and email functions that you can also print directly from. This is pretty useful being that apps aren’t able to interact with one another within iOS, as while you’re browsing in Safari you can’t select a print option that will launch Print Central, which is something that Apple will have to remedy for the iPad to become truly useful.
It really is exactly what you hope it’s going to be and adds a functionality to the iPad that makes it a far more viable option as a laptop or netbook replacement.