Apple Wants To Kill Off Printer Drivers Once And For All [Report]

Apple Wants To Kill Off Printer Drivers Once And For All [Report]

There will soon be a day when a driver is not required for printing. Wireless printing has become more of a household standard as new printers roll out with cloud technology, and Apple is looking to make the printing experience as painless and seamless as possible.

Two interesting patents applications were recently filed by Apple that detail printing protocols and APIs that don’t require drivers, with more of a focus also being placed on printing from the cloud.

For years, software drivers have been a huge thorn in the consumer’s side. Printer drivers in particular can prove to be very frustrating, as it can sometimes be difficult to find the right driver for compatibility with certain printers.

On the Mac, Apple has done a better job at making the printing experience more streamlined for the end user, with technology like AirPrint allowing customers to wirelessly print documents from an iOS device. Many manufacturers, like HP, also have mainstream printer drivers pre-installed on OS X for easy compatibility.

Google has also taken steps to eliminate the need for printer drivers with its web services, like cloud printing in the Chrome browser and Google Docs.

According to ConceivablyTech, if Apple’s two new patents see the light of day, there will be three ways to print in the future:

  1. From a traditional software driver.
  2. Through a cloud service (much like Google is doing currently).
  3. Through a driverless, universal access method that works on any printing device.

Apple Wants To Kill Off Printer Drivers Once And For All [Report]

Apple has two ideas for the cloud service aspect of printing. One proposed method would send incompatible print data to the cloud to then be parsed correctly and sent back to a compatibile printer, while the other access method would rely on a printer device already associated with a cloud service.

The first patent in question details a driverless printing experience, and it combines the use of discovery protocols, like Bonjour, and network protocols, like IPP. If driverless printing is not supported on a device, either a traditional software driver or cloud infrastructure would have to be used.

While a driverless world is clearly what Apple envisions, cloud printing looks to be the backup tool for the coming transitional period. Theoretically, iCloud could be used to help usher in this driverless technology. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Tallest_Skil

    Please yes. Screw you, HP, and your blasphemously stupid printers that refuse to work with OS X’ native applications for faxing and scanning.

  • CharliK

    Seems to me that they aren’t killing drivers at all. But rather making a move to try to make the printer companies use the ‘driver’ that is on the computer rather than the other way around. 

    And if it means that the printers become more plug and play, I say go for it. I would love to hook up a printer and have the system detect it and add it without any fuss. 

  • Brandon Chang

    wish apple would make a printer
    iprint

  • lls49
  • gnomehole

    I suppose all the Fandroids, DVD/CD-ROM old-school types and Flash fanatics will now try tell us how evil Apple is to want to rid us of print drivers.

    Yea… start catching on yet people?   Like the death of the disc media and flash, this is NOT a bad thing.    Thankfully someone is willing to stand up and push change where its long overdue…

  • AlexJames987372

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidFirst.com

  • lals33
  • poppa1138

    I hope so..

  • lals42
  • firesign

    Apple had their own branded printers for years. Laserwriters and Deskwriters.

  • Gavin Liquorish

    I thought this is what pcl5/6 and the like were supposed to give us, a unified language to talk to any printer regardless of make & model.
    I also hope they sort the file size out for cloud based printing, I have had fun before when a terminal services session was generating 20MB files to print over a slow ADSL line.

  • GDal

    Wasn’t the original selling point of USB that the devices would announce what they were and ‘just work’? No need to install extra drivers and such as each device would tell the connected device how to talk to it. Wishful thinking when MS gets involved it seems.

    Does this cloud sending mean that even Windows only printers will work too? Not a bad idea…

  • Sid Burns

    I have I cloud on my I pad, I phone and my Toshiba notebook running XP
    I can’t print to any of my printers from I cloud. Printers include Kodak ESP 9250 and HP Laser.
    All I get is a printed page that is black, on all of my printers including printing to a PDF file.

    When I was using mobile ME printing worked fine. SOS

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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