iPhone users have their choices of data plans, but unless you opt for an expensive plan that includes tethering or subscribe to a separate tethering plan, turning your iPhone into a WiFi hotspot for you phone is not an option. Jailbreakers, of course, always had the option to turn their iPhones into rogue hotspots. Now, however, Apple has approved iTether, a $15 app that allows Mac and Windows users to connect their iPhones to their computers over USB and then get online over a 3G connection without the need for a special tethering plan. You can download the app here.
Update: Apple has pulled the app.
It’s not clear how this app slipped through Apple’s famously thorough approval process. As MacRumors notes, the developers just posted a note on Twitter, saying that they were “very clear with Apple” about what their app does. According to the developers, Apple asked them “a bunch of questions and then approved us.” Either Apple really wants to see this app in the App Store, or somebody pressed the wrong button somewhere (something similar happened when Apple approved and then quickly pulled an app called “Netshare” in 2008).
Developer’s Site is Down, So You Can’t Use the App Right Now
Because of the way the app works, users have to download a piece of software that runs on their laptops (Mac or Windows).
As the company is currently getting so slammed by potential users that it’s servers have broken down, you can’t actually use the app right now as you can’t download the software for your laptop. Those who were able to get to the site and install all the required softwarereport that it’s working as advertised.
How Long Until Apple Pulls the App?
Carriers like AT&T, of course, won’t be very happy about this. In the past, AT&T especially has been known for going after jailbreakers who installed tethering apps. It’s quite likely that AT&T will also go after iTether users.
It remains to be seen how long this app will remain available in the app store, so if this is something you really want, now is probably the time to get it. There is always a chance that Apple approved this by accident, after all.