Apple in November plans to release an operating system upgrade for its mobile products that will, among other things, allow the devices to print directly to compatible printers, without the need for cables or special drivers.
iOS 4.2, released in beta form to developers Wednesday, adds AirPrint wireless printing to the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, and iPad touch (3rd generation or later). "AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks and can print text, photos and graphics to them wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need to install drivers or download software," according to Apple.
Image Gallery: Apple iPhone 4, A True Teardown
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Hewlett-Packard's line of ePrint-enabled printers, including existing and future models, will be the first to support AirPrint.
"We're pleased to bring Apple's AirPrint to our fall lineup of ePrint printers in time for the holiday shopping season," said Vyomesh Joshi, HP's executive VP for Imaging and Printing, in a statement. "Making it easy for our customers to print anytime, anywhere, is a key priority for HP. iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch customers are going to love how easy it is to print using our new range of ePrint printers," said Joshi.
AirPrint compatible computers include models in HP's Photosmart, Officejet, Officejet Pro, and Laserjet Pro lines.
Apple is on an aggressive timetable in terms of providing iOS updates. Earlier this month, the company released iOS 4.1. That upgrade was designed to fix iPhone 4's buggy proximity sensor, which is supposed to deactivate the device's touch-screen interface during phone calls.
Beyond bug fixes, iOS 4.1 offers a number of enhancements over the original iOS 4.0. It adds the Game Center social gaming platform, 99 cent TV show rentals through iTunes, and social music app iTunes Ping, which lets users track what songs and artists their friends are listening to.
iOS 4.1 also adds High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to the iPhone and iPod touch. The HDR feature lets users capture a wider range of light intensity and can combine multiple exposures into a single image.