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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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Useful, but not....
By George Powell on 3/20/2009 11:33:22 AM , Rating: 2
As an iPhone user in the UK I can see the attraction of being able to tether my iPhone to my Macbook Pro, or indeed any other computer. However when I use my laptop I'm very rarely outside of wifi reception, and when outside the iPhone itself in nearly all cases satisfies my web requirements.

It is almost impossible now to get a coffee without wifi added on, so this functionality, certainly in cities is unlikely to have a huge uptake.
Where it might be more useful is out in the countryside, but there the actual 3G or Edge reception will become more of an issue.

Personally I'd use the feature, but only if there wasn't any additional charge, or possibly if the addition cost was very small.




RE: Useful, but not....
By kingpotnoodle on 3/20/2009 11:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
As a Nokia user in the UK I have been connecting my phones via USB or Bluetooth to act as a 3G modem for several years now, and I can't understand what all the fuss is about... pretty basic feature IMHO, I didn't know that this was yet another thing iPhone couldn't do yet, and makes me even more glad I haven't fallen onto the ibandwagon!


RE: Useful, but not....
By michael2k on 3/20/2009 12:39:08 PM , Rating: 2
There is no fuss. The capability has been there since the first iPhone (someone actually wrote an app to allow tethering, and sold a few copies before Apple pulled it!).

The real issue is that Apple has made an API for it (probably with features to auto-throttle, measure, and cap so people don't over-spend), and that carriers finally have enough bandwidth to support it.

At least in the US, it was discovered that after the release of the iPhone that data usage increased 50x, and tethering wasn't an option. Many people reported slow or spotty coverage due to too many iPhones in an area.

If they had allowed tethering as an option, I'm willing to bet that service would have ground to a standstill until AT&T could beef up their coverage. My guess is that two years later they've done enough for it to be an option.


RE: Useful, but not....
By JoshuaBuss on 3/22/2009 4:42:28 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I'm a nokia user on AT&T and I've been "tethering" for 4 years. It never used to be called 'tethering'... it was just called "phone as modem" or PAM for short.

Where did this term suddenly come from, and please again tell me why people are interested in a phone that's been so gimped for so long?


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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