Next up for Apple: Driver-less printing?

Apple's patent filings for driver-less printing offer some insight into technology that they may be implementing soon for Mac OS X and iOS devices.

There's always plenty of activity in the Apple patent field, but apart from the legal fights that often pop up, some interesting innovations also come to light. Chris Smith at the AppleInsider reports on a couple of new filings that illustrate Apple's interest in getting beyond the pesky printer driver. (First patent here.)

In the filing, first noticed by ConceivablyTech, Apple describes a new printing process for such mobile computing devices that would allow them to wirelessly detect a printer and determine whether a printer driver is installed.

The user would then be able to continue the printing job even without a driver by employing a series of APIs based on a discovery protocol such as Bonjour, an Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) and the PostScript Printer Description (PPD) file, which is used to detect the printer.

A second patent explores yet another method of bypassing the printer driver by storing a particular data structure specifying a certain set of printing characteristics when detecting a printer. As described in its Summary:

This system includes a discovery component configured to identify accessible printers and to facilitate selection of an accessible printer, wherein the discovery component is also configured to obtain capability information from accessible printers. The system also includes a transport component configured to transport data to the selected printer, wherein the transport component is also configured to obtain capability information from the selected printer. Finally, the system includes a page-description-language component configured to generate printer data for the selected printer based on obtained capability information for the selected printer.

What do you think of these ideas? Have you heard of anyone else doing -- or planning something similar?

Related Apple news (ZDNet):