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Posted at 9:51 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Apple iOS 4.3 has built-in personal hotspot feature

By Hayley Tsukayama

One of the most intriguing tidbits about the Apple iOS 4.3 beta that dropped on Wednesday is that the mobile hotspot feature Verizon announced for its iPhones on Tuesday is actually built into Apple's newest mobile operating system.

That means that, in theory, all iPhones could work as mobile hotspots.

CNN reported that AT&T, which was the iPhone's exclusive carrier until this week, is bringing mobile hotspot capability to some of its Android phones.

An AT&T spokesman Faster Forward contacted yesterday would not comment on rumors this week that all iPhones would be getting the feature.

The folks at Boy Genius Report have a great breakdown of some new features available for developers.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | January 13, 2011; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  Apple, Gadgets, Mobile  
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Next: Now that there's a Verizon iPhone, is Sprint next?


I think that this "feature" is going to highlight an inherent limitation with CDMA networks - no voice and data at the same time. Verizon users could have a hotspot set up for data, but then there won't be any phone calls (and vice versa).

Posted by: satyric | January 13, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Like AT&T didn't have enough problems. Now they have to decide to compete with VZW and open up the coming hotspot capability for iPhone users, or not and try to protect what's left of their network integrity. Tough choice.

Posted by: realworld51 | January 13, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

This functionality for Verizon won't be worth anything until the next gen iphone (hopefully this summer) that works on Verizons existing 4G network. It is simply pointless on a 3G cdma network.

Posted by: Nosh1 | January 13, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

This may be a silly question....

So does this mean that I can use the hotspot to hook up my gaming console, TV, laptop, etc., to the internet?

If so, does it use my phone minutes or "data plan", or both? Or, and this seems unlikely, does the mere fact the phone receives a signal on allow one to use the hotspot?

Posted by: ered1 | January 13, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Verizon already has a "hotspot" feature on the Droid, however to use it legitly requires purchasing an additional $20 per month data feature, on top of the mandatory $29 data plan. There may be a way to work around that by "rooting" the phone, which also gives the user a lot of other benefits (like deleting some Verizon bloatware). However, Verizon and Motorola oppose rooting and say it voids the warranty (at least if the phone is rooted when brought in for service). If iPhone users get a hotspot feature at no additional charge, I think other smartphone users have a right to deluge Verizon with complaints.

Posted by: southVAHmptn | January 13, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@ered1- I am currently on Verizon using the Palm Pixie that has the free mobile hot spot feature. It certainly has it's perks and it's drawbacks, and i'm sure the same will be true for the iPhone's mobile hotspot feature.

You can connect all of those devices you mentioned (i have done so in the past) but not as a primary source of internet, and definitely not all at once if you are doing any downloading/streaming. For example, any sort of streaming content will really cost you over time since Verizon puts a 5GB/month cap on the "free" feature.

While the convenience of being able to connect a laptop from anywhere is great the biggest downfall is that if you are connected, and you receive a call (whether you answer it or not) the connection gets dropped. Plus, it'll completely drain your battery...however, this is certainly something that could be improved with the iPhone's battery life and capacity.

Overall, I do love the feature, but keep a close watch on my monthly usage.

Posted by: molg87 | January 13, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Because of the issues other commenters described - additional cost for tethering and the 5GB limit - it is wiser to purchase and use a personal hotspot device with unlimited data. Mine is the Clear iSpot. I pay $25 per month to connect to any iOS device, including streaming to my Apple TV.

Posted by: query0 | January 13, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm using my iPhone to connect my laptop to the internet--though it has to be attached by the cable. I'm avoiding most streaming video and so on, though, because ATT has a 2gb/month limit--after that it's ten bucks per extra gig, and I use several per month. What this means is that if Verizon will give me 5gb/month it will immediately save me $360/year, a sufficient incentive for me to break my ATT contract about sixty seconds after I can get a Verizon iPhone. Is anyone at ATT paying attention to this?

Posted by: scientist1 | January 15, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

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