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GSM iPhone to gain 'Personal Hotspot' in March with Apple's iOS 4.3 - rumor

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
A new rumor pegs Apple's "Personal Hotspot" Wi-Fi tethering feature for release on GSM-based iPhone models with supporting carriers in March, arriving after the Verizon CDMA iPhone in February.

According to an anonymous source said to be "close" to Redmond Pie, all iPhones that support iOS 4 will gain the Personal Hotspot in March, with the release of iOS 4.3. The feature was first demonstrated on Tuesday with the newly unveiled CDMA iPhone 4.

The new CDMA iPhone for Verizon's network in the U.S. was shown running a new version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 4.2.5. It can be enabled through the phone's Settings application, and allows the handset's 3G data connection to be shared with up to five devices over Wi-Fi.

Adding credibility to the rumored March release of iOS 4.3, the tipster also provided screenshots of the feature running on a handset, though the name of the cell provider has been blocked out.

Boy Genius Report also received screenshots, and was told that the new OS version is labeled 8F5148b, with a baseband of 04.08.00. It also heard that "technical acceptance" is expected to take place in March.



Word of an iOS 4.3 release with the Personal Hotspot feature came to light after the Verizon announcement on Tuesday. There it was also said that the feature would only be available if a wireless carrier agreed to support it.

For its part, AT&T said it wouldn't "speculate on potential features that could be added to its phones in the future. The carrier agreed to allow iPhone tethering last June, but currently AT&T customers must pay $20 per month to share a 3G connection only via USB or Bluetooth. The current method does not allow a data connection to be shared with an iPad.

UpdateAn AT&T rep reportedly told SAI that the company was "evaluating" supporting the feature, but that AT&T has "no plans to announce today."

Though Verizon announced the iPhone and Personal Hotspot on Tuesday, the carrier did not offer any pricing for the handset's data plans or for the ability to tether. The CDMA iPhone will debut on Verizon's network when it goes on sale in the U.S. on Feb. 10.
post #2 of 45
Very curious to see how AT&T responds to this sort of thing. Given their new tiered data plans, they really ought to be able to do this with no trouble. They might just want to restrict it to people who do have one of the tiered plans -- making this available to those with unlimited plans might be more than their poor little network can handle.
post #3 of 45
That would be cool - I wonder at what price? Allowing iPad is a must! Although it calls into question the future sales of iPads with 3G etc. Even one connection would make me happy, two would be great. No need for 5 IMHO. A Free 'personal hot spot'.
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post #4 of 45
Looking forward to this on my carrier. Bluetooth tethering is a bit cumbersome when pairing non-Mac devices, even then new devices take a while to pair and it's not shareable. This is good stuff.
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Very curious to see how AT&T responds to this sort of thing. Given their new tiered data plans, they really ought to be able to do this with no trouble. They might just want to restrict it to people who do have one of the tiered plans -- making this available to those with unlimited plans might be more than their poor little network can handle.

It’s their right as we do sign a contract stating we won’t tether, but I think it’s silly they want to charge $20 for tethering without giving you any additional data.

I think if they offered it for free on capped plans it would be easy to use and could very easily push people into additional charges from increasing from 200MB to 2GB plans and paying $10 for each additional 1GB. I think that would easily exceed what they are getting from people with capped plans paying for tethering.
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post #6 of 45
I think wi-fi sharing would become the most used way of sharing.
Would be nice to know what encryption level is being used though.
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It’s their right as we do sign a contract stating we won’t tether, but I think it’s silly they want to charge $20 for tethering without giving you any additional data.

I think if they offered it for free on capped plans it would be easy to use and could very easily push people into additional charges from increasing from 200MB to 2GB plans and paying $10 for each additional 1GB. I think that would easily exceed what they are getting from people with capped plans paying for tethering.

I'd like someone to explain how (or if), the carrier can even detect this. Previous tethering was USB or Bluetooth and was activated/deactivated in the hardware at the request of the carrier, this on the other hand, is Wi-Fi and it will be built in to every iPhone.

Network stuff isn't my forte at all but it seems to me that unless they are doing packet inspection it will just appear that people are using more data, no? And as long as you don't go over your limit how would they know?
post #8 of 45
I tried getting the tether option on my phone but they insisted id have to give up my unlimited data plan. I laughed and told them there's no way that's going to happen...im liking them less and less.
post #9 of 45
Really looking forward to this if/when it comes to Vodafone Portugal, which it probably will as they allowed USB / Bluetooth tethering as soon as it was available for no extra charge. Glad I held off buying an iPad, as now when iPad 2 comes out I won't need to get a 3G version. Result!
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I'd like someone to explain how (or if), the carrier can even detect this. Previous tethering was USB or Bluetooth and was activated/deactivated in the hardware at the request of the carrier, this on the other hand, is Wi-Fi and it will be built in to every iPhone.

Network stuff isn't my forte at all but it seems to me that unless they are doing packet inspection it will just appear that people are using more data, no? And as long as you don't go over your limit how would they know?

I figure they will control it them same way they control the USB/BT tethering. It is enabled by the carriers, per account if they wish, though I am not entirely sure of the mechanism for doing it (carrier settings file maybe?). But, however they are enabling tethering now could just as easily enable wifi tethering, separately or as part of tethering in general. USB/BT tethering is built into every iPhone as much as wifi tethering is (will be). It is just a matter of how the carrier can enable/disable it, per account.

As far as them detecting if you are using it, they couldn't really know whether you are sharing your IP via wifi or via USB/BT just by inspecting the packets. Possibly they could use inspection to examine the NAT packet headers to determine how many concurrent devices are behind the NAT gateway, but this seems excessive and wouldn't in and of itself tell them you were using wifi, but might imply it if you have multiple concurrent devices detected.

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post #11 of 45
I never understood why carriers don't allow tethering or hotspot'ing of phones. You're paying for a service that is capped. There is a data limit set, why do they care how you get to that limit? The only thing I can come up with, is pure greed. The carriers want to force you to pay for an extra service that requires no extra hardware and gives you no extra data allowance.

Of course it makes perfect sense to charge more if there wasn't a data limit, but there is a limit and at most I only use 1/10th of it every month. Being able to also connect my iPad to the service (through hotspot'ing) would help me maximize my service.

Furthermore, this is not something Apple had to "work" at to get on the iPhone. This has been a feature of OS X for a long time now, it's called "Internet Sharing". It can enable any Mac to become a wireless hotspot and share its internet connection. It would be trivial for Apple to add the ability to iOS.
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post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Previous tethering was USB or Bluetooth and was activated/deactivated in the hardware at the request of the carrier, this on the other hand, is Wi-Fi and it will be built in to every iPhone.

USB / Bluetooth tethering is activated in software (not hardware) via the carrier profile settings. WiFi tethering will be no different.

Assuming it's possible to "hack" the carrier profile to enable the option (as I believe is the case for USB tethering) then the carrier won't be able to detect that you're using it. That applies to any kind of tethering.
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelab View Post

Really looking forward to this if/when it comes to Vodafone Portugal, which it probably will as they allowed USB / Bluetooth tethering as soon as it was available for no extra charge. Glad I held off buying an iPad, as now when iPad 2 comes out I won't need to get a 3G version. Result!

I am looking at my iPad the same way. As I said earlier, THis will impact 3G iPad sales I'm sure.
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post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I'd like someone to explain how (or if), the carrier can even detect this. Previous tethering was USB or Bluetooth and was activated/deactivated in the hardware at the request of the carrier, this on the other hand, is Wi-Fi and it will be built in to every iPhone.

Network stuff isn't my forte at all but it seems to me that unless they are doing packet inspection it will just appear that people are using more data, no? And as long as you don't go over your limit how would they know?

They can't really. Their network only ever "sees" data from the phone and nothing beyond that. They could monitor for data usage and request spikes, which could signify other devices accessing the network through the phone, but something like that could also come from the phone itself.

Jailbroken iPhones should be able do this already, because it is simple enough to startup dhcp and nat to get local ip addressing served and translated across network interfaces; one interface being the cell network and the other WiFi. I've never looked at a jailbroken iPhone, so I'm not sure if there's something more to it than that, but this is how it would be done under OS X.
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post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I never understood why carriers don't allow tethering or hotspot'ing of phones. You're paying for a service that is capped. There is a data limit set, why do they care how you get to that limit? The only thing I can come up with, is pure greed. The carriers want to force you to pay for an extra service that requires no extra hardware and gives you no extra data allowance.

Of course it makes perfect sense to charge more if there wasn't a data limit, but there is a limit and at most I only use 1/10th of it every month. Being able to also connect my iPad to the service (through hotspot'ing) would help me maximize my service.

Furthermore, this is not something Apple had to "work" at to get on the iPhone. This has been a feature of OS X for a long time now, it's called "Internet Sharing". It can enable any Mac to become a wireless hotspot and share its internet connection. It would be trivial for Apple to add the ability to iOS.

Because their entire business model for data services is predicated on the idea that you will pay for unused services. If everyone used what they paid for, it would diminish their profit on data.

I like to think of it as if you could pay your grocer to provide you with a dozen eggs each week, but their business model being based on the assumption that you will only take 2. If however, you share your eggs with others, you might well use those 12 eggs. Their business model fails. They need you to only eat 2 eggs but continue to regularly pay for 12.

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post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelab View Post

Assuming it's possible to "hack" the carrier profile to enable the option (as I believe is the case for USB tethering) then the carrier won't be able to detect that you're using it. That applies to any kind of tethering.

Well we can safely assume that if a carrier can modify or download profile settings over the air, they can also look at and upload settings. Which means if you hack the profile, they will be able to "tell". But only if you ever give them a reason to look.
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post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

They can't really. Their network only ever "sees" data from the phone and nothing beyond that. They could monitor for data usage and request spikes, which could signify other devices accessing the network through the phone, but something like that could also come from the phone itself.

Jailbroken iPhones should be able do this already, because it is simple enough to startup dhcp and nat to get local ip addressing served and translated across network interfaces; one interface being the cell network and the other WiFi. I've never looked at a jailbroken iPhone, so I'm not sure if there's something more to it than that, but this is how it would be done under OS X.

This is pretty much what I thought. It seems to me that once the feature is in the phone, that we can all expect to tether whatever we want and the only thing the carrier can do is catch us if we go over the cap.
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Because their entire business model for data services is predicated on the idea that you will pay for unused services. If everyone used what they paid for, it would diminish their profit on data.

I like to think of it as if you could pay your grocer to provide you with a dozen eggs each week, but their business model being based on the assumption that you will only take 2. If however, you share your eggs with others, you might well use those 12 eggs. Their business model fails. They need you to only eat 2 eggs but continue to regularly pay for 12.

Yeah, I pretty much figured that. My post was more of a rant than a real question.

I think on the last day of each billing cycle, I'm going to look at my data usage and begin to download huge files just to use up the rest of my data allowance.
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post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Because their entire business model for data services is predicated on the idea that you will pay for unused services. If everyone used what they paid for, it would diminish their profit on data.

I like to think of it as if you could pay your grocer to provide you with a dozen eggs each week, but their business model being based on the assumption that you will only take 2. If however, you share your eggs with others, you might well use those 12 eggs. Their business model fails. They need you to only eat 2 eggs but continue to regularly pay for 12.

The only reason I'd pay my grocer for 12 eggs per week when I average 2 per week is because I have no other option. That is not a business model, that is just ripping me off. Why not offer me a per egg price that is higher than the guy who signs up for 12 per week? That way I will pay more than him when I take 12 but less when I take 2. Answer: because my grocer is part of an oligopoly.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Well we can safely assume that if a carrier can modify or download profile settings over the air, they can also look at and upload settings. Which means if you hack the profile, they will be able to "tell". But only if you ever give them a reason to look.

I think the reason AT&T didn't offer tethering was because they wanted a mechanism that allow them to tell the iPhone if tethering should be disabled or enabled. I have officially unlocked iPhone 4 and I use my AT&T account. When I put a T-Mobile or any other carrier SIM card I see "tethering setting" in the network setting. If you fill it correctly, you get tether. But once I put AT&T SIM card tethering is disabled. I think it works by AT&T giving the iPhone the carrier setting over the air and if you have tethering on your account they can tell the iPhone to enable tethering.
post #21 of 45
Love this. Jailbroke my iPhone just for this feature so my kids could connect their iPods and my wife her iPad whilst on a long car journey. I don't see why this is should be any kind of issue. If you burn up data by having four kids stream youtube for hours on end you'll have to pay for it, is all. (and you deserve the bill for being stupid!)\
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

I never understood why carriers don't allow tethering or hotspot'ing of phones. You're paying for a service that is capped. There is a data limit set, why do they care how you get to that limit? The only thing I can come up with, is pure greed. The carriers want to force you to pay for an extra service that requires no extra hardware and gives you no extra data allowance.

Because they oversell their service. If their customers started to use most of the bandwidth allowed them by their plans, the network would collapse. Instead, services are sold with an idea of what the average user will consume, thus allowing them to evaluate the real-world strain on their network.

A typical person using an internet connection on a computer will use far more bandwidth than a typical person using an internet connection on a phone. If they opened tethering up to everyone the bandwidth consumption would shoot up significantly (videos, etc.) and this would result in an uncompensated strain on their existing network. For AT&T, it would mess up an already challenged network. For Verizon, it would challenge a relatively stable network. Why would either want such a thing? Or even better yet, why would the consumer want such a thing?

The high costs associated with tethering certainly represent a money grab, but there are costs for a reason.
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post #23 of 45
i'm not interested in tethering, as it costs way too much. I have tethering enabled on my rooted droid, and i rarely use it. i have a 3g ipad and have never activated it. it just isn't an important feature to me. i can't believe that many people are paying for this service out of their pocket. it has to be a lot of business accounts footing the bills on these ridiculous plans.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by renfield33 View Post

i'm not interested in tethering, as it costs way too much. I have tethering enabled on my rooted droid, and i rarely use it. i have a 3g ipad and have never activated it. it just isn't an important feature to me. i can't believe that many people are paying for this service out of their pocket. it has to be a lot of business accounts footing the bills on these ridiculous plans.

Would you use it if it was included in your data plan?

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post #25 of 45
This is the first proof that having a multi carrier strategy is very good for us users. Since both now have identical iPhones, improving the network is now the only way to get or keep iPhone users. We will hopefully see both companies move a bit quicker to deploy faster and more reliable networks. Yea I'm captain obvious but I've been waiting for this for a pretty long time.
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post #26 of 45
This is a no deal for me. While this is a neat feature and I could see possible use for this feature in my personal life, there is no way I'm giving up me unlimited plan for it AND pay more for the privilege.
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post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by renfield33 View Post

i'm not interested in tethering, as it costs way too much. I have tethering enabled on my rooted droid, and i rarely use it. i have a 3g ipad and have never activated it. it just isn't an important feature to me. i can't believe that many people are paying for this service out of their pocket. it has to be a lot of business accounts footing the bills on these ridiculous plans.

It currently costs too much. From what I understand the issue is spectrum availability, which should be less of a constrain with LTE. So prices should start dropping pretty soon.
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post #28 of 45
FWIW, I do like a deal, but don't expect something for nothing. My unlimited ATT data plan was part of the deal, but tethering was not. Fairly, they offered an unlimited plan to a single device, so in my eyes, if Apple made it technologically feasible to provide unlimited data to a single different device, I don't beleive I should have to pay ATT more for that - it was the essence of the original deal.

In the end, I would pay a little more to have the data I already agreed to on my wifi iPad. Certainly not $20/mo. To toss out a number, I might agree to as much as $5 more a month to support up to 5 simultaneous wifi devices on my unlimited iP4.

However, if I had a limited plan, I don't believe I should have to pay more - I am consuming the same total amount of data.

Just my consumer opinion.
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

I figure they will control it them same way they control the USB/BT tethering. It is enabled by the carriers, per account if they wish, though I am not entirely sure of the mechanism for doing it (carrier settings file maybe?).

At least initially it was done via the carrier settings file. When iOS 3 came out and the carriers were dragging their feet, somebody created a website with modified carrier settings files. You just had to navigate to that site with your iPhone, select your carrier, confirm a dialogue and it was enabled.
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I'd like someone to explain how (or if), the carrier can even detect this. Previous tethering was USB or Bluetooth and was activated/deactivated in the hardware at the request of the carrier, this on the other hand, is Wi-Fi and it will be built in to every iPhone.

Network stuff isn't my forte at all but it seems to me that unless they are doing packet inspection it will just appear that people are using more data, no? And as long as you don't go over your limit how would they know?

One easy way for them to find out is by checking the user agent on browsers tethered to the phone. A lot of sites (like HULU) prevent Google TV from accessing their services by checking the UA. For a while, the cracked Revue was able to spoof the UA and access Hulu. But Hulu was able to figure it out and prevent that as well. I don't recall the details.

I read reports that T-Mobile was cracking down on tethered Android phones. I tether my iPad to my Vibrant and I never had any problems. But that could be because I use the iPad so infrequently that I probably don't register on their radar.
post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Yeah, I pretty much figured that. My post was more of a rant than a real question.

I think on the last day of each billing cycle, I'm going to look at my data usage and begin to download huge files just to use up the rest of my data allowance.

Love it.

There should be an app for that!
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post #32 of 45
I like AT&T, I am not going to Verizon and give me a break----who cares if you can get 5 devices paired-urgh! Just a battery drain and how many devices can on work at a time (with the exception of a family) that this rally matters. If tethering cost $20, why is that out of line, because it cost $20? Wake up folks and stop being cheap, technology cost something and if you want it on these selected devices guess what-pay up! As fro the new CDMA phone-who needs it (well those on Verizon I suppose). All carriers have issues and at least when I travel to France or England my Iphone will work just fine of AT&T international. Don't mean to come over harsh its just all this Verizon vs. AT&T BS, who cares and who needs it!

Now back to shoveling snow-2+ feet today-hey maybe Apple can get an APP for shoveling driveways?
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smklos View Post

I like AT&T, I am not going to Verizon and give me a break----who cares if you can get 5 devices paired-urgh! Just a battery drain and how many devices can on work at a time (with the exception of a family) that this rally matters. If tethering cost $20, why is that out of line, because it cost $20? Wake up folks and stop being cheap, technology cost something and if you want it on these selected devices guess what-pay up! As fro the new CDMA phone-who needs it (well those on Verizon I suppose). All carriers have issues and at least when I travel to France or England my Iphone will work just fine of AT&T international. Don't mean to come over harsh its just all this Verizon vs. AT&T BS, who cares and who needs it!

Now back to shoveling snow-2+ feet today-hey maybe Apple can get an APP for shoveling driveways?

MInd you don't slip! Condolences BTW, we were there in Boston for the last blizzard, glad to be home in Florida now.
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post #34 of 45
Does this mean they've already figured out a way to stick an entire Mi-fi-sized unit into the iPhone without making it any bigger? That's an amazingly fast job of miniaturization.
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

At least initially it was done via the carrier settings file. When iOS 3 came out and the carriers were dragging their feet, somebody created a website with modified carrier settings files. You just had to navigate to that site with your iPhone, select your carrier, confirm a dialogue and it was enabled.

Works like a dream. Free unlimited tethering. I don't use it much, but when I do it's a lifesaver. People here mentioned that we had signed a contract saying we wouldn't tether, or something to that effect, but I doubt it because there was briefly a $10 app on the app store that enabled tethering, before it was built into the OS.

However, I haven't upgraded hardware or OS since, because none of the features really seemed to merit giving this up. Eventually I'll just get a new phone and keep the old one (with a SIM card adapter) for when I need this feature--unless they make the Personal Hotspot free for everyone.
post #36 of 45
Now that there is little to distinguish AT&T from Verizon in terms of the iPhone, perhaps both companies will aim the 3G iPad at people who don't have already have a smartphone? The Wifi iPad could become the default model for most, if it isn't already.

I don't have an iPad yet (waiting for the gen 2) but it would be awesome if you only had one data plan for the iPhone to pay, and you could hitch your iPad to it when you wanted to.

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post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Its their right as we do sign a contract stating we wont tether, but I think its silly they want to charge $20 for tethering without giving you any additional data.

I think if they offered it for free on capped plans it would be easy to use and could very easily push people into additional charges from increasing from 200MB to 2GB plans and paying $10 for each additional 1GB. I think that would easily exceed what they are getting from people with capped plans paying for tethering.

I agree with you.

As I mentioned in another thread, ATT should consider "rollover data" which would be a good inducement. I don't think this would cost ATT much because most people buy the plan that keeps them from exceeding their typical data usage.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

I agree with you.

As I mentioned in another thread, ATT should consider "rollover data" which would be a good inducement. I don't think this would cost ATT much because most people buy the plan that keeps them from exceeding their typical data usage.

But they don't want you to use all of it!
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by penchanted View Post

I agree with you.

As I mentioned in another thread, ATT should consider "rollover data" which would be a good inducement. I don't think this would cost ATT much because most people buy the plan that keeps them from exceeding their typical data usage.

I have to agree with bartfat, i think they dont want you to come close to using it all. Minutes are one thing. SMS would be fine, too, but I think actual data that you could pay less for for several months a year when you have enough saved up could really hurt their bottom line.

My idea for carriers is Automatic Tier Scaling, which is essentially what they do now for their data, to an extent. If you have the 2GB plan and you go over you are charged $10 per 1GB. I think it would give a lot of customers peace of mind if they had price caps for the different data types.

Right now for voice and SMS if you go over your allocation you are charged a per minute or SMS fee. I think they should auto-bump you to the next tier plan if you go over. This way, no customer will get a shocking $1,000 SMS bill, instead theyll just have the $20 for unlimited. Same voice. Data however is a different beast and I dont see any carrier going unlimited until the cost of data drops considerably for the carrier.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by iedsri View Post

Does this mean they've already figured out a way to stick an entire Mi-fi-sized unit into the iPhone without making it any bigger? That's an amazingly fast job of miniaturization.

?? The iPhone (starting with the original iPhone) has the components (cellular modem, wifi chipset, software) to be a hot spot all along. No mi-fi needed. Indeed, probably what will get me to jailbreak my iPhone one of these days.

That and wifi syncing
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  • GSM iPhone to gain 'Personal Hotspot' in March with Apple's iOS 4.3 - rumor
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