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(MCT)—QUESTION: My wife and I are considering the purchase of an iPad and need to know if, in addition to receiving or sending e-mail, it can send a signal to a wireless printer to print a document received by email. Are there special set-up instructions required to do this?

Also, we’re considering buying an MP3 music player. It appears that the iPhone can do everything that the iPod Touch does, plus act as a phone. Is there any reason I would not choose the iPhone over the iPod Touch?

—Allan Schwartz, Ottawa

ANSWER: Printing wirelessly from an iPad should be easy, but sometimes it’s not. The iPad uses Apple software called AirPrint. Printers on a home Wi-Fi network that are AirPrint-enabled should show up on your iPad as available for printing. Apple compares some Epson and Hewlett-Packard printers that are AirPrint-enabled at

But even if a printer is AirPrint-compatible, if the software it uses isn’t the most recent version, you can have problems. So you may have to download an update for your printer. This same update problem can also occur with your wireless router, which acts as an intermediary between the iPad and the printer.

You can also use non-AirPrint-enabled printers if there is a downloadable iPad printing app for them. In the iTunes app store, I saw iPad apps for HP, Brother, Canon and Lexmark printers.

Why would you buy an iPod Touch when an iPhone does more? No reason I can think of, provided that you want a new phone. The iPod’s functionality is incorporated into the iPhone.

Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: Please include a full name, city and phone number.

©2012 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Distributed by MCT Information Services