Apple has filed two patents that could hint to the company's intent to get rid of printer drivers.
Apple has three ways of enabling printing without drivers, with a focus on compact mobile devices. The first is a simple, Google-like cloud-print solution. A second model targets a universal printer access via a discovery protocol and expanded network printing protocol (as well as support for postscript printer description files). The third model relies on traditional printer drivers. The entire concept is described as walkup printing, a term that is already marketed by Xerox.
The cloud model is questionable as Google is providing such capability via Chrome and Chrome OS, but the use of Bonjour as discovery protocol as well as IPP as network printing protocol (npp) are interesting approaches
In another patent, mentions a new document-format-preferred key, “which enables the printer to specify a ‘preferred’ document format out of all of the document formats that are supported by the printer” as well as a new “URF-supported key.” This URF key can be used to provide printer configuration data, such as supported bit depths, maximum copies, supported duplex printing, specific finishings such as stapling, and media types. The patent notes that the key can be added to Bonjour and to the transport protocol “as a new printer description attribute for the IPP protocol.”