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iPhone 4.0 beta 4 finally hints at AT&T data tethering

updated 10:05 pm EDT, Tue May 18, 2010

iPhone 4 beta 4 points to ATT for tether option

Apple tonight posted iPhone 4.0 beta 4 to the Developer Center with a strong clue that AT&T will finally enable data tethering. The new test release not only enables a "set up tethering" preference for American users but, when the menu is tapped, asks users to either call AT&T or to visit the carrier's website to turn the feature on. That it isn't automatically enabled suggests AT&T will charge an extra fee; for other smartphones, it normally charges an extra $30 per month.

The addition would put an end to a year-long delay for the feature, which was promised when the iPhone 3GS was unveiled last June but has been repeatedly set back. AT&T has often cited a desire for improved network performance before it switched on the feature, which could tax its already strained 3G network by letting subscribers share a cellular connection with demanding desktop-level apps. Many international carriers have had the feature active since the iPhone 3GS debut; one of the most advanced has been Canada, where all three major carriers have not only built tethering into service but give it away for free with the data plan.

If it reaches the final iPhone 4.0 build, tethering would keep the US iPhone current with Android, which will get built-in tethering with Android 2.2. Both Google's platform and the Palm webOS phones at Verizon also have the option of turning the phone into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, however.

Most other changes are minor but include a new default home screen layout that puts the calculator, clock and other minor apps into a Utilities folder. Several new wallpapers have been added that focus on reducing visual clutter, and Google Maps is now more responsive than it has been in the past. Previous beta bugs like brief pauses appear to have been addressed.

The changes all point to Apple nearing the end of development for the OS as it's focusing mostly on cosmetic issues over core technical problems. If Apple follows its traditional route, it should release the finished version of iPhone 4.0 shortly before new iPhone hardware ships, which is unofficially anticipated for late June. [via Gizmodo]


By Electronista Staff


  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    I hope its not extra

    at&t is already more expensive than t-mobile, if they charge a lot for data tethering, its really not competitive. t-mobile does not charge extra for tethering on phones that they call 'data devices'...aka blackberries and a few winmo phones.

    of course you can't get the iPhone on tmo. But I find, now that I own an iPad...I have an iPhone OS device, and a great one at that. I don't really need my phone as computer anymore. My phone can just be a phone again.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    btw thanks Gizmodo

    Thanks to Gizmodo for another excellent story on the iPhone OS 4.0....we are all big fans :)

    I jest.

  1. cmoney

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2000



    Back before the iPhone, when any normal smartphone could tether, AT&T charged $30/month. I believe it's still the same. I used to use it with a Samsung Blackjack and it was pretty good.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Feb 2009



    I like how the technorati/developers are so concerned about *their* privacy on the web and moan about Google's "violations," but literally *seconds* after Apple releases a new SDK they fall all over themselves trying to divulge it's secrets before anyone else on the web can.

    Apple is evil I guess, so that means we can just forget about any legal agreements right? Total freedom for all, as long as *my* stuff is still private? Your ideas are just fodder for me, but I'll sue you if you touch mine?

  1. B9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2008


    Tethering is supposed to be available in 3.0

    You can thank AT&T for not providing that feature that was promised a year an a half ago and they still haven't provided that feature. Tethering can be done in 3.0 if AT&T would or could get there act together.
    Even if tethering comes to the phone you can be sure AT&T will charge you up the nose to use it. Better off finding a Starbucks and using your computer there for free!

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