Finding a current table of color laser Airprint capable multi-function printers (MFP) with prices and features is impossible. [If you are an Android user, just replace every reference of “Airprint” to “Cloud Print” since it is essentially a copy of Airprint, and would help Android users to find printers too] So, gathering info quickly to recommend a printer is laboriously slow at best. Adding Airprint capabilities to product page table lists and being able to filter by it (as “wireless” and “color” are valid filters on most company and shopping sites) would speed up information gathering. I only found out about Airprint coming to Xerox when I visited MacWorld Expo and asking a Xerox engineer. Worse, is this info has dropped Airprint off of HP’s list pages — but is at least still buried in each printer’s page in fine print.
When I spoke to the Xerox engineer he said some Color MFP under $1000 (for SoHo) and all Enterprise models had (or would have) Airprint, but looking at the official list today there was nothing to compete with HP’s $400 retail (~$300 street price) Color LaserJet M175nw MFP [now replaced by the M177fw] which offers Wireless print through Airprint — thus iOS devices can print without loading any software (and scan with software). Also, Canon had imageCLASS MF8580Cdw, at $600 coming out. At the show the Xerox rep, pointed out several sub-$600 Xeroxes that either had the feature or would get it with a firmware update. But since then, I have forgotten which ones those were. So, when someone shot me a quick email “Hey, saw that printer ____ and they told me to ask you about it. Which models would you recommend?” I looked it up, which led me to the first line of this post.
Airprint means that visitors do not have to go through an arduous process to print documents. No one has to call tech support, anyone with an iOS device can print simply by…
When I was a sophomore in college, I got a chance to get a new computer. I wanted the Mac SE/30 for the Motorola 68030 32-bit clean CPU and the expansion slot. (secretly known as the “SEx”—the “x” was for eXpandable, along the lines of “IIx,” and “IIcx”, but Apple Marketing decided to sheepishly steer away from that moniker. At least that’s what I was told by a rep. and I had no reason to doubt him.)
Instead my father, who was financing this upgrade decided an SE and a Laserwriter II SC was a better choice. The bill was around $4.5K. I didn’t like that I was overruled since I knew that means I would eventually be unable to run the latest Mac OS, but it was his money. I appreciated it even though I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. Being an Assembly programmer that made some of the first image rasterizing firmware and software, he knew the value of raster laser accurate printing. He told me about Optical drive platters in the late 70s or early 80s before there were any consumer optical disks (y’all know them as “CDs”), so I didn’t doubt him. Around 1983 he also predicted that in the future we would have storage technology thousands of times larger and computers in our pockets within his lifetime. At the time, I hadn’t heard of Moore’s law, but it is a good guide to the speed and storage of future generations.
In the long run, the SE and LaserWriter were a much better choice because it added a new capability, pretty much no other people in my demographic had. It came in very handy, and I used it for reports that put other student’s reports to shame the same way my 128K Mac and ImageWriter printed reports in high school put other students’ typed and handwritten reports to shame. I started playing around with graphics and printing because 300dpi (even in black and white) was very cool. I learned how to manipulate angle and density of the line screens for getting different visual effects, etc. This “playing” with what I had access to led to printing up things for fun: stickers and other things, and eventually a newsletter or two.
Recently a small business owner came to me asking me what I’d recommend for printers. After talking to him about his needs, I recommended the HP CP2025dn because he wanted to go with HP and Color Lasers are significantly cheaper than they used to be.
I also looked at Lexmark’s C544dw which has a few features, such as wireless printing and the ability to be directly connected to the USB bus if needed. Personally I would have gone with the Lexmark since it also features a superior 1200×1200 DPI resolution. But he likes HP’s service. The Xerox 6280DN looked good too though but the wireless printing option was $200 on top of the $450 price tag putting it above the $300-$500 target price I gave him.
He asked about inkjets, but he’s printing a few hundred pages a week, meaning his consumable costs are significant. Besides that fact, he’s running a small business and color laser looks so much more professional than inkjet unless you print on expensive paper.
All in all I gave him the option of going with Lexmark — I wouldn’t have felt right not mentioning what I consider a superior product for only $100 more.