In conjunction with the iOS 4.2 beta, Apple (s aapl) has issued a press release touting “AirPrint.” The trendily named wireless printing feature for iOS will be included with iOS 4.2 in November.
“AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS—no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” gushed Apple VP Philip Schiller.
First demoed at the Apple Event in September, AirPrint will initially work with HP ePrint printers or shared printers on a PC or Mac. HP ePrint printers use unique e-mail addresses to receive documents from devices with e-mail capability, supporting a variety formats including Microsoft Office, PDFs, rich text, HTML, and others, though no mention is made of iWork.
Compatible shared printers include HP Photosmart, Officejet, and LaserJet models. Of course, only iOS devices capable of running iOS 4.2 will be AirPrint ready: iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (second generation and later).
As nice as wireless printing from iOS devices will be, the unanswered question in the press release is why we are hearing about it again. The answer is the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the first real rival to the iPad launching this week in the U.S. that is wireless printing capable. This is something of a role reversal for Apple, fighting a real competitor with features on paper, paper that can’t yet be printed wirelessly.