Get ready for the mandatory update message next time you turn on iTunes as Apple has released version 10.1 into the wild. This isn’t your garden-variety new version though, as iTunes 10.1 introduces support for iOS 4.2 and some of its sexy new features.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of iTunes 10.1 is the fact that it includes AirPlay support, which is kind of a big deal. Now users will be able to download and start a movie or TV show in iTunes on and then push it over to their Apple TV via AirPlay. Of course this is contingent upon actually having Apple TV, but for those that do it’s a great way to watch your video content without messy cables or extra time hooking stuff up.

AirPlay support landing in iTunes also pushes web-based video content one step closer towards killing traditional cable and satellite television models. As popular shows and movies appear online with generally lower prices than standard cable and satellite packages more and more folks are thinking about “cutting the cable” and moving to purely web-based consumption. What’s held them back until now has been the issue of trickier tech for non-savvy folks, but when you can start a show on your computer or iOS device and then instantly send it to your TV that takes out a lot of the fear. Granted, there are still some other issues to work out such as the amount of content available and general questions about reliability, but you have to walk before you can run.

iTunes 10.1 is available now and will likely show up next time you boot up iTunes or your computer does a sweep for new Apple-related software. If you absolutely can’t wait any longer you can also head over to the iTunes page and download it from there. Also take heart that this likely means iOS 4.2 should be just about ready for launch, but then we’ve been holding our breath so long we’re about to turn blue.

[via EndGadget]

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