AT&T: iPhone-iPad Tethering Not Possible Due To Software Limitations; Not A Policy Issue
Earlier this week, AT&T announced that tethering will finally be officially available to iPhone users with the release of iPhone OS 4.0. But there's a catch, the feature will be offered only to iPhone customers who opt for the $25 per month DataPro data plan.
Tethering will allow users to share their iPhone's 3G data connection with their laptop computers, netbooks or other mobile devices over Bluetooth or via USB to surf the internet.
Ironically though, the new tethering option will not allow users to tether their iPhone with the iPad. According to reports on TechFlash, AT&T has noted the absence of a USB port as one of the primary reasons why tethering is not supported on the iPad. However, Apple's documentation notes that the new tethering functionality can also be activated over the device's over Bluetooth.
This has led several observers to question AT&T's motive behind not allowing users to tether their iPhone to the iPad. There have been speculations that this is to prevent users from using the tethering functionality as an alternative to purchasing a separate iPad-specific data plan.
However, in a recent statement, AT&T has clarified that this is not a policy issue. Instead, the carrier has said that tethering is not possible due to limitations of iPad's software. TechFlash points out to a recent test conducted by tech journalist Glenn Fleishman that has indicated the presence of a Bluetooth profile on the iPad, which is not enabled at present.
While there is no word on the possible reasons behind Apple not enabling the Bluetooth profile on iPad, it is interesting that the lack of tethering on iPad was confirmed by Steve Jobs as early as March of this year. You may remember the report on an email exchanged between Jobs and an iPhone customer where the Apple CEO had confirmed that users will not be allowed to tether their iPhone to the iPad.
We hope that Apple will enable the functionality on the iPad via a software update in the future as it makes more sense for users who already have an iPhone to buy the iPad Wi-Fi only version and use iPhone's 3G data connection to surf the internet while on the move. They would end up saving the $130 that one needs to pay for the iPad Wi-Fi+3G model and also $15 or $25 per month for the iPad data plans. Though the only problem is that the maximum 2GB data limit available for iPhone users with the $20 tethering option might not be adequate for both the iPhone and the iPad.
What do you think?