iOS 4.2 to launch without AirPrint sharing

Apple's iOS 4.2 update for its mobile devices is due to bring with it some major upgrades, but it looks like at least one feature has fallen by the wayside in efforts to get it out of the door by Friday - AirPrint.

According to rumours circulating the web, iOS 4.2 - which is expected to release to the public this Friday, after a Gold Master version was released to developers earlier this month - will no longer feature the ability to print from its internal apps to certain printers shared on Mac or Windows machines.

The 'AirPrint' functionality has long been pegged for release in iOS 4.2, forming one of the main updates for the iPad - which currently lacks printing support of any kind.

Sadly, it looks like Apple has changed its mind. Cupertino-watcher AppleInsider is reporting that both the Apple Developer site and the release notes for the iOS 4.2 Gold Master download have been modified to remove all reference to AirPrint support on Windows and Mac shared printers - suggesting that Apple won't be releasing it as part of Friday's update.

The news will come as a blow to iPad owners around the globe, but an especially crushing one to the growing number of enterprise users to whom printing support would be a major boon. While the release is thought to still include direct printing support for certain Wi-Fi printers, the list of supported models is tiny and of little use to companies that already have printers that they share via Windows or Mac machines.

So far, Apple has not commented on the reports.