iOS 4.2 Beta Released; Brings AirPrint Wireless Printing To iOS Devices; iOS 4 Features To iPad [Updated]

iOS 4.1 Beta

Apple has released the first beta version of iOS 4.2 (build 8C5091e) and iOS SDK 4.2 to developers of iOS Developer Program.

iOS 4.2 Beta is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. iOS 4.2 will finally bring iOS 4 features such as multitasking, folders to the iPad.

Steve Jobs had given us a glimpse of some of the new features that will be available in iOS 4.2 at the September 1 special event:

  • iOS 4 features such as multitasking, folders, Game Centre for iPad users.

  • Wireless printing

  • It will also bring the AirPlay feature to iDevices, which will allow you to stream video, music, and photos over Wi-Fi especially useful if you have the second generation Apple TV

Apple is calling their new wireless printing feature AirPrint:

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. HP’s existing and upcoming ePrint enabled printers will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices.

According to Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing:

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.

iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to an HP ePrint printer or to a printer shared on a Mac or PC.

AirPrint will work only with iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (second generation and later) so iPhone 3G users will again be disappointed.

We have seen apps from HP etc that allow you to print wirelessly from your iDevice but including the feature natively thus making it directly accessible from iOS apps will make it one of the killer features of iOS. Isn’t it amazing how new features like AirPrint can be enabled on a smartphone with just a software update?

iPhone users who want to jailbreak and unlock their iPhone should avoid upgrading to iOS 4.1 for now.

Update 1:

It looks like for some unknown reason the AirPrint feature in iOS 4.2 beta also requires users to install the latest Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta. 

Update 2:

You can checkout couple of video walkthroughs of iOS 4.2 on the iPad:

Update 3:

Apple has changed the functionality of the physical switch that was used for screen orientation in iOS 4.2 beta. It has been repurposed it as a mute switch. You can now control the screen orientation via the orientation button available in task switcher, which is part of the multitasking feature introduced in iOS 4.2 for the iPad. Do you like this change? 

iPad screen orientation switch

Update 4:

iPad users can access seven apps in the task switcher in landscape mode and six apps in portrait mode. 

We will let you know if the beta version of iOS 4.2 reveals any interesting new features.

[via Apple, AppAdvice, Engadget]