Apple looking to get rid of printer drivers?

“Apple could be on a quest to eliminate our dependency on printer drivers, according to two recently published patent application,” Lance Whitney reports for CNET. “As described by tech news site ConceivablyTech, the first patent application suggests a number of ways to cut out traditional printer drivers as the middleman. One method would use a ‘driverless printing technique’ that would grab the necessary information from the printer itself. Another method would send the printer data to the cloud, where servers would generate the print data.”

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Whitney reports, “Apple’s second patent application envisions a new document format key, which would enable driverless printing by providing all the necessary printer and page configuration settings, such as resolution, print quality, orientation, input and output bins, and duplex support.””

Read more in the full article here.


    1. @Don
      It’s best to focus on the job you need completed. It’s not really DVDs we care about. It’s the media stored on the DVDs that we want. If we can access this media by other means, then we no longer need DVDs.

      1. Who needs to print if you have an iPad or iPhone. I haven’t printed more than 5 pages in the last 10 years. Any printer I have had dries up before I get to print the second page.

        Paper is only useful if you don’t have a computer screen nearby.

    2. Yeah, so? They got rid of floppy drives while they were in common usage on Wintel machines and everyone bleated about how ridiculous that was. Nobody gave a damn after a very short while. Apple have removed optical drives from the Air notebooks, and few really care, because flash memory is so cheap. Who needs a DVD to store data when a 16Gb Cruzer Blade costs a few bucks.
      I’m replacing my eight year old PowerBook with a MacMini. Not the latest, the previous model. The reason being I can take out the optical drive and replace it with a 750Gb drive, giving me a terabite of storage, and the SuperDrive is going into a ten dollar enclosure so I can carry on ripping all my CD’s. I rarely use DVDs for anything, if I need to carry data it goes on a memory stick or a card. When I can buy a 32Gb SDHC card for around the price of a single Blue-ray disc, that can only be written to once, then frankly the disk is a dead format. It just doesn’t know it yet.

    3. If you can get around having drivers for things, making things more universal and needing less backend support, then you’ve made a win. Simplification of things often leads to a better experience. Drivers are a pain.

  1. Are you serious. Having the printer drivers in the cloud instead of on our devices would be GENIUS. I’d imagine this would allow for OS and iOS printing to any device connected to the cloud with only the need for a passcode to access the device. Airplay on steroids…………Me likey

    1. Let me clarify why I think cloud printer drivers would be great. First, these cloud drivers don’t need to REPLACE, but rather ADD TO the choices available for printing. Secondly, I don’ t see any reason that the printer couldn’t receive two transmissions: 1st is the driver info from the cloud, 2nd is the document info from the device. This would alleviate the security issues related to sending info the the cloud for printing. So it would go as follows:
      1. select document to be printed
      2. device (ipad, iphone, etc) sends print request to cloud
      3. cloud uses device as a throughput for detecting printer
      4. drivers in cloud send print signal through device to printer
      5. device sends documents to printer
      What I wonder is how much data would be required for the printer list needed for step 3. Other than that, I think this has great potential.

    2. given how much OSX is taken up by printer drivers, their elimination would make it that much more lean and efficient. You know, small enough to fit on an iDevice (OSX / iOS fusion)…

    1. Google Print+

      You won’t even need a screen, your ‘friends’ updates will just spit out on a piece of paper. It will be like a time warp to the days of the Teletype but ‘modernized’ for the interwebs and the ‘entitlement’ generation!

  2. cuz sometimes innovation needs to leave the antiquated stuff behind.. anybody missing the 3.5” diskettes ? I’m also selling a few 10 year old components. anyone interested ? 🙂

  3. Am I the only one that thinks it would be ridiculous to send my data to “the cloud” to have that data sent back and printed out on the printer sitting 3 feet from my computer?

    The security and liability risks alone make my head spin.

    Maybe a have the local print spooler query the device for its functionality and send that to the application, oh wait, that is how it already works using printer drivers. hrm.

    1. “Am I the only one that thinks it would be ridiculous to send my data to ‘the cloud’ to have that data sent back and printed out on the printer sitting 3 feet from my computer?”


    2. Agreed. And add to all this “iCloud” BS, those of us who constantly battle broadband consistent connectivity see that cloud as one huge thunderstorm spewing hundreds of lightning strikes. So much for downloading/uploading…

  4. “Another method would send the printer data to the cloud, where servers would generate the print data.”

    This is about the stupidest thing I’ve heard this year. There are plenty of people who live on dirty rural telephone lines who can’t get reliable dial-up connections, never mind the esoteric luxury of high-speed. Imagine having to depend on IRREGULAR dial-up just to do your printing!

  5. I think its a great idea to get rid of the print drivers. They take up quite a bit of room on the computer with the vast stores of drivers that are installed automatically. Printing to the cloud is an interesting idea but I would much rather it send directly to the printer not the cloud.

  6. Coming up with a way to get rid of traditional printer drivers makes a LOT of sense. Apple is focusing on areas that cause frustration for a lot of users.

    I’m not sure sending it to the cloud is a great idea but having some sort of universal way to get/set print settings is.

  7. we already got rid of printer drivers years ago – its called universal PostScript – but everybody forgot and kept making their own drivers and even their own PostScript drivers too – obnoxious – bring the noise Apple and drop the heat Apple! Printer drivers suck and are what makes Windows so sucky. Get rid o them Apple!!

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