There’s two ways known of which you can print with your iPad. Get a compatible enabled AirPrint Printer, which means you have to buy a new printer or you can set your PC or Mac to share your printer, then install AirPrint with Airprint Activator, which means you have to leave your computer to be powered on all the time.
The better way to print without any software installed on your computer or involving a new printer is to get an App from the App Store. The app is called Print Central or Print Bureau. The one I tried is Print Central for the iPad at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/printcentral-for-ipad/id366020849?mt=8 (iTunes Link).
Though the company EuroSmartz developed both Print Central and Print Bureau at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/printbureau/id363371015?mt=8 (iTunes Link), they both can do the same things when it comes down to printing, but Print Bureau can convert your documents to PDF, much like Print To PDF for the PC.
How easy is it to find my non-compatible AirPrint printer? Print Central find it in an instant. It knows the IP Address of my Printer, the Type and Brand. I have the HP C2700, it was a pre ePrinter that was just recently made available to pretty much all of HP line of Printers. Mine is about 2 years old and its not compatible with AirPrint. Even if I use the HP Printer App on my iPad, it still won’t find my printer.
So I tested a test text print and it printed pretty fast. The second I hit the print button in Print Central, it sends the command to the printer in 2 seconds and it printed text in total of 8 seconds. While photo takes longer to print, it won’t bother me as much since I’ll be using it mainly for printing text such as my notes and web stuff.
The disadvantage of Print Central is that you can’t print via Safari, even though Print Central has a built-in Web Browser so you can print web pages, it won’t be built-in like the Safari on the iPad can. With the Safari, I can just print the web page, but then it requires me to have AirPrint installed on my computer or have an Airprint Capable Printer. So for now, the hassle is minimum, and the savings is a lot of money.
Overall, the convenience of having AirPrint Printer is the ability to print web pages, email, and other built-in app on the iPad instantaneously. Just one step easier than having to open another 3rd Party App.
The Advantage of having Print Central is, if you are out of town and have to borrow a printer and your friend has one on the network, you can print without having to install any software on you friend’s PC or Mac.