Apple iPad, iPhone OS 4 appears set to gain direct printing support

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Apple has hinted at the prospect for direct printing from the iPad in its support documents for iWork apps, suggesting the feature may appear as part of iPhone OS 4.0.

Support pages for iPad's Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps each note that "printing directly from iPad is not currently available," rather than simply stating that the apps do not print.

For now, Apple directs users to send their documents to a desktop computer that can print them, either via email or using iPad's new File Sharing feature in iTunes.

The ability to print via Bluetooth or WiFi may likely be part of Apple's iPhone 4.0 announcement on Thursday. Apple could avoid the need to include the massive amounts of (often buggy) printer drivers used by Windows or Mac OS X by simply supporting a limited subset of printing options.

Other details related to iPad's new hardware, its new Human Interface Guidelines, and its new feature tweaks (and curious feature omissions) will be considered in tomorrow's "In-depth review of iPad and iPhone OS 3.2."