updated 09:20 am EDT, Fri August 29, 2008
iPhone tethering coming?
Apple may be looking to permit tethering iPhones to computers, at least in the United States, rumors suggest. Tethering enables people to treat cellphones as external modems, connecting where Ethernet or Wi-Fi is not an option. While the technology is increasingly popular in Europe and North America, AT&T has expressly forbidden the practice with the iPhone, even though other devices have permission, and the iPhone is offered with unlimited data plans.
Apple may not be happy with this, an e-mail exchange appears to indicate. In response to the removal of the NetShare tethering app from App Store, one person says he complained directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "AT&T offers data plans for BlackBerry that include tethering for an additional $30 per month (a total of $60 per month for the BlackBerry+tethering plan)," the complaint reads. "It seems ludicrous that the same thing is not offered with the iPhone. I understand the desire to prevent tethering with the current data plan, but I am willing to pay more money to allow tethering! With such an advanced device, why can I not do so?"
Jobs is said to have offered a rare personal response, writing, "We agree, and are discussing it with ATT." The message is appended with "Steve" and "Sent from my iPhone," in a fashion similar to an alleged e-mail about 3G connection problems. How iPhone tethering would function is unknown though, as Apple and AT&T could allow apps such as NetShare to return, or else insist on a form of proprietary software.