Apple iOS 4.2 For iPad Reviewed
Wireless Printing With A Catch
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Previously, if you wanted to play content from an iOS device on an HDTV, you had to use a $49 cable from Apple to plug into the TV. The new Apple TV costs $99, and is easily worth it when you consider the AirPlay features of the iPad with iOS 4.2. I do wish, however, that AirPlay would be compatible with non-Apple hardware.
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Another of iOS 4.2's novel features for the iPad is the ability to print wirelessly -- though there are limitations. AirPrint uses Wi-Fi to find and locate printers that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. As long as the printer is officially supported, the feature works flawlessly.
Through sheer dumb luck, I have an HP Photosmart Premium C410, which makes the AirPrint cut. After connecting the C410 to my Wi-Fi network, the iPad spotted it and was able to print to it. Pretty much anything can be printed from the iPad, including emails, photos and websites. Once a file is sent to the printer for printing, the iPad can resume other tasks while the document is printed in the background.
The problem is the number of compatible printers is ludicrously small. Just 12 printers are supported, and, according to Apple's website, all of them are consumer or small-office/home-office types made by HP. Apple needs to work with printer makers to expand this feature's compatibility. Notably absent? Business grade printers of any kind. (Users of Apple computers can, however, download and run a program called AirPrint Hacktivator to circumvent Apple's limitations.)
Find My iPad
Apple has wisely decided to make its device-locating feature free (it previously required a $100-per-year MobileMe account). Find My iPad lets any iPad user locate their device via a web browser.
First, the Find My iPad application needs to be downloaded and installed on the iPad. It is free from the iTunes App Store. Once installed, users will be prompted to register their Apple ID (used for iTunes Store access) with Apple's MobileMe service. If they don't already have an Apple ID, users can create one on the spot. With the application installed and registered, the iPad is ready to be found.