If you have ever tried printing from your iPhone or iPad to your home printer, you know how it's not straightforward. You need to use a supported printer, like a newer HP model with ePrint, or you need a specific app (usually free) from your printer vendor, such as Epson. That might be acceptable for home users, but imagine an enterprise with dozens or hundreds of iOS users printing to dozens of industrial strength printers. You can't easily replace all of those printers, financially or functionally, and you can't necessarily force all of those employees to download and use printer-specific apps for each printer.
Enter the xPrintServer from Lantronix
. It's a small iPhone-sized device (but a little thicker) that connects to both power and your corporate Ethernet LAN. it detects available printers (and there is a huge list on their site with supported printers
) and makes them available, natively, to iOS devices on your network. I tried it at CES and, like they say, it is as easy as "Open the box. Plug it in. Print!"
At $150, it is not for the home user... You could just get a new iOS friendly printer. But it's meant for the corporate environment, and a single xPrintServer can support 7 to 10 printers, bringing the cost to just $15 per printer, which is less than an ink or toner cartridge!
supports printers from HP, Toshiba, Xerox, Lexmark, Canon, Brother, and Epson as long as they are network attached (wired or wireless) but not USB attached. The iOS devices must be running iOS 4.2 or newer.