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Monday, January 25, 2016
Review - Air Printer - Manage and Print your Documents
Review - Air Printer - Manage and Print your Documents

This week we’re reviewing Air Printer - Manage and Print your Documents created by Pilcrow AG and recently updated to version (1.1.0). It costs $2.99 and is placed in the productivity department of the App Store. Air printer is more than what it sounds like, yes it supports Apple AirPrint and handles that very well, but Air Printer is more of an advanced File Manager with good PDF integration.

A File Manager isn’t needed anymore now that we have iCloud Drive, I hear you thinking? Well at least that was my first idea before I started reviewing this app. Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, liked to hide the File System from the users as much as possible.

A user shouldn’t know about the notion of a File System hierarchy, so they’d to use iTunes as *the* central hub, where you could drop your files in to get them into the Apps. For long time this cumbersome method was the only option we had in iOS user land.

Since the introduction of iCloud, Apple moved away from iTunes as a document hub and moved our contents into the cloud. This was already better than before, you could open and save documents into iCloud directly. In the mean time DropBox was growing in popularity and it proved that even iPhone users liked the notion of files and folders. Enter 2014 and iOS 8, this was the time that Apple introduced iCloud drive, so we—endusers—were suddenly allowed to see the File System of iCloud in all its glory. iCloud drive isn’t very intuitive, to create a new folder via your iPhone you have to click on “Select”, which enables ‘New Folder’ in the bottom of the screen.

Anyway Air Printer has jumped into this area, it has created a File Manager, but with the integration of other cloud services. So Air Printer claims to hook into iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive, Sky Drive, Evernote and Box.

During my testing I noticed that only DropBox and Sky Drive (now called OneDrive) were working, I’ve contacted the developers and they stated that there are problems with the other Cloud frameworks since iOS 8 and that it may work sometimes or not. For iCloud you can save files from Air Printer and access those files from any other iOS device where you’ve installed Air Printer, so it’s a iCloud storage bucket, you can’t access your iCloud files from here.

For the Cloud services that work, you can download files into Air Printer, but visa versa you cannot upload files from Air Printer into the Cloud Services. When I tried to upload to DropBox I didn’t get a Save button, when I did it to Sky Drive it crashed the app.

To get content into Air Printer, you have multiple ways. You can scan documents with the Photo camera of your iPhone and convert the content into PDF and save it into the Air Printer native File System. They have three conversion services;

1. Web to PDF - open a web browser in the tool and convert it to PDF to read it later

2. Map to PDF - open a map and save it as PDF for offline viewing

3. Scan to PDF - Scan with your camera a document and save it as PDF, nice to keep track of like your invoices for example

The File Sharing feature is something I like, Air Printer can setup a web service, to which you can browse on your laptop, where you can upload files into, much better than the iTunes alternative that other apps use.

Air printer has other features like Photo editing (nice), but still some of them don’t work on my iOS 9 iPhone 6 Plus, like the Safari extension, the “Create Drawing” option, canvas too small and popup windows are unresponsive.

Air Printer has its potential but needs more testing and should remove features that don’t work or sometimes work. I have been informed that they are working at the next release to add even more features like SMB support, but guys please trim the ones that are not mature.

Air Printer is good in what they claim “If you need to convert all kind of files to pdf to share and print, Air Printer is will be the perfect tool for you.”, next to that it has nice integration with DropBox and OneDrive, and is a File Manager and has good File transfer feature. I’m looking forward to test the new version.

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