Apple Inc.’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch can handle many tasks that people once turned to personal computers to complete, from checking e-mail and surfing the Web to editing photos and composing documents.
The gadgets can connect with computers to transfer files, but Apple’s critics have still dinged the company for hobbling its mobile devices by making them without ports for connecting with printers or USB drives.
Apple is on its way toward solving one of those complaints. At a media event this month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs mentioned an upcoming software update for the iPad and its smaller siblings that would include a way for people to wirelessly print documents.
On Wednesday, Apple said it has released a “beta” test version of AirPrint to software developers who make iPad and iPhone apps.
AirPrint is designed to find printers on home networks, then send text, photos or graphics directly to the printer over Wi-Fi. To start, iPads, iPhones or iPods with AirPrint will only work directly with certain Hewlett-Packard Co. printers. Apple, which is based in Cupertino, Calif., would not comment on future printer partners.
People who don’t have one of HP’s ePrint-enabled printers can still print wirelessly. AirPrint can send files through computers connected physically or wirelessly to a printer.
Apple said AirPrint, which is part of the bigger iOS 4.2 update for iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch, will be available in November.