iPhone to add wireless modem feature
Apple's 3G iPhone will soon gain a feature that it currently lacks compared to most other 3G smartphones – the ability to act as a modem for the computer it's attached to. At the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said that a firmware update would soon be available to allow "tethering" – in other words, for the phone to make its data connection available to a PC or Mac. Generally, notebook owners use this for getting a fast data connection when out of reach of Wi-Fi.
Although this is possible with many 3G phones, such as Nokia's E-series devices, Apple has up to now blocked this feature. Third-party applications are out there to achieve this, but Apple blocks their distribution. For iPhone owners who have "jail-broken" their device, so that unsigned programs can be installed, there is iSoft's iModem. Jailbreaking is quite straightforward, but Apple's software updates often reverse the process, rendering apps useless until the hackers find a way around the latest restrictions.
An alternative was Netshare from Nullriver. This took a different approach, making an iPhone into a Wi-Fi access point, allowing multiple nearby users to share the 3G connection. It was briefly available on Apple's official AppStore but has now been withdrawn by Apple and there is currently no word as to if or when it might reappear.