A longstanding complaint with the Apple iPad is its inability to print content directly, and the best answer used to be third-party apps like Air Sharing Pro and PrintCentral that use Bonjour to share over a network.
At Apple's music event earlier this month, Steve Jobs announced that iOS 4.2 will finally allow wireless printing directly off the device, and an official press release from the company today confirms the developer release of the beta version of AirPrint.
The official iOS 4.2 software update drops in November and includes the full version of AirPrint, a service that automatically locates connected printers on the network and printers over Wi-Fi without any additional driver software.
We've already seen a demo of the menu option on the iPad, but the update will work on all of Apple's mobile devices including the iPhone and iPod Touch, so users will never be without access to their documents or photos.
Apple also announced a partnership with HP to bring AirPrint over to its newest line printers that also feature "ePrint" technology. Each printer will come assigned with a unique e-mail address instead of a driver, so wireless printing is as easy as e-mailing a document, photo, or any other variety of formatted attachments that include Microsoft Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and more.
HP's entire fall line of Officejet, Photosmart, Officejet Pro, and Laserjet Pro printers will support AirPrint, but if you don't plan on buying a new printer this year, Apple also tells us that iOS 4.2 mobile devices can send data to any printer as long as it's connected through a Mac or PC.