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A Irish iPhone hacker and beta tester discovered the new tethering settings in the OS v3.0. This is the tethering home screen.  (Source: Apple Insider)
The new iPhone OS brings the possibility of tethering if carriers approve it

With the official announcement of the iPhone OS v3.0 there has been much excitement over the new features, which include MMS support, copy cut and paste, turn-by-turn directions (via third-party hardware), FM radio support (via third-party hardware), and new Bluetooth support.  One feature that didn't receive much attention was tethering.

Apple said at the press event for the new OS that it would be allowing tethering and has built the functionality into the new OS.  However, whether or not you can use this functionality is entirely dependent on whether your carrier chooses to support it, and thus far AT&T, the official iPhone carrier in the U.S., has announced no plans to do so.

Still, those interested in how the tethering will work will take interest in this news.  Irish programmer Steve Troughton, an iPhone hacker and OS v3.0 beta tester, became the first to see the new tethering features.  He accidentally unlocked the features when overwriting his carrier, O2's, Carrier Settings file.

The result was an options screen for a tethered connection.  The connection could be turned on by either connecting via USB or Bluetooth and then sliding the a slide bar to "on".  When tethered the phone displays a message beneath the clock -- "Internet Tethering" -- to remind the user that their phone is tethered and is consuming data.

For some carriers outside the U.S., like Rogers Wireless (Canada), tethering should be a breeze to support, as they already offer tethered connections to their smart phone models.  AT&T, however, has not confirmed a time table or stated that it has any concrete plans for such a scheme yet on the iPhone.



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at&t already allows tethering?
By smackababy on 3/20/2009 9:58:41 AM , Rating: 2
When I had them, although I hated the service, allowed tethering to my HTC. I don't see why it would be different for an iPhone. Knowing Apple and at&t though, they will want to charge for it.




RE: at&t already allows tethering?
By icrf on 3/20/2009 11:46:57 AM , Rating: 2
I've never understood why "unlimited" internet on your phone is decently priced, but adding 5GB/mo of tethered internet is a big extra expense.


RE: at&t already allows tethering?
By michael2k on 3/20/2009 12:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I've got about 2GB of data a year on my iPhone using it for about 3 hours a day as an internet device. Obviously I'm not stretching the "unlimited" plan too bad.

But if I had it "tethered" to my laptop? I bet I would go through 2GB a month :)

Not because my usage is significantly different, but because, as a full featured laptop, more things would happen in the background: More emails sent and received, multiple tabs open at once, flash (!) ads and sites, etc.

So from AT&T's perspective, unlimited data is probably a whole order of magnitude less intensive than tethered.

If you have an iPhone, look up it's usage and see how much data you suck down in a year or two.


RE: at&t already allows tethering?
By icrf on 3/20/2009 10:22:45 PM , Rating: 1
I don't have an iPhone, or any cell phone, actually. I was thinking of getting one, or really asking work to get me one. The office has apparently decided Blackberries are out and iPhones are in, so I doubt it'd take much. But, I bought a netbook a couple months ago, and the only reason I'd get a cell phone is for bluetooth tethering. If I got an iPhone, personally, I could jailbreak the thing and make it work. I don't think I'd do that to a company phone. But, if it were offered as a pay-option, work would definiely pay for it for me.

Well, technically I want a phone for mobile internet. I would probably determine that the vast majority of my mobile internet needs could be met by the iPhone itself without tethering. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.


RE: at&t already allows tethering?
By grath on 3/20/2009 2:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
In the case of the non-USB tethering, over bluetooth or wifi, they probably have concerns about the impact it has on battery life and how that would reflect on the product. On my jailbroke phone using the old version of the PDAnet application which only tethered over wifi, the drain on the battery was incredible. Indeed, plugging it into the USB just to charge while it was in use the battery barely broke even. That is to say, that the rate of charging was only slightly higher than the drain of using both the wifi and cellular data network simultaneously. It seems that is simply something it was not intended to do within reasonable battery life constraints. Luckily the current version of iPhone PDAnet supports tether over USB, which has worked great for me, as I imagine it would when officially supported. There are still situations where people would want to tether without being hardwired, and that probably puts a very uncomfortable look on the engineers faces when they think about how the average user would complain about the battery life.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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