Today we learned that the mobile hotspot feature included in Verizon’s upcoming iPhone 4 will be making its way to all iPhones through a future iOS update. This may not come as a surprise to some. It was only a matter of time before this feature became available on the iPhone. This is yet another example of Apple’s tendency to roll out little feature additions here and there as minor updates.
The update was first hinted at during some hands-on time with the new iPhone 4. It was discovered to be running on iOS 4.2.5 (current iPhones run on iOS 4.2.1). So it was possible that a future update was in the works and could provide users with the same type of mobile hotspot we saw yesterday with the Verizon iPhone.
Details are minuscule, but let’s gather up the little things we do know:
1) It should be coming with iOS 4.3
According to the original report, this feature should be included in the iOS 4.3 update. The Verizon iPhone shown at the event yesterday was running iOS 4.2.5. Current iPhone users may not ever see 4.2.5 and the 4.3 update will probably come sometime after Verizon’s iPhone hits the market.
2) Connect up to Five Devices
The hotspot will allow for up to five devices to be connected. This was confirmed yesterday during Verizon’s iPhone event. Might be great for family trips when the kids want to use their iPod Touch or laptop. Just make sure you carry around a charger, folks.
3) Needs Carrier Support, No Word on Payment Options
Here’s the kicker: Carriers will have to support the feature. For AT&T subscribers, this may mean no mobile hotspots for a while. It’s all up to them, but keep in mind their how they handled tethering (which was only added with iOS4). Unfortunately, AT&T could not be reached for comment on whether they will support using the iPhone as a hotspot. However, if they do, it wouldn’t be their only phone with the feature.
4) Goes into Technical Acceptance in March
If the report is true, this version of iOS goes into technical acceptance in March, so it may be a while until that update is released to the public.
Will AT&T Step it Up?
We mentioned this before, but now that the iPhone is no longer exclusive to AT&T, they are going to have to step up their game and show consumers that their service is the best place to use the iPhone. Whether or not they do, we will see. Still, Verizon’s mobile hotspot feature on the iPhone may make them consider the option.
As it is, jailbreakers have been able to use this sort of function for quite sometime. Apple doesn’t want users jailbreaking their device, though there’s not much they can do about it other than issue updates. It seems like getting AT&T to allow some of these features would be a crucial first-step in the right direction. Either way, they will no doubt jailbreak iOS 4.3 to do what users need of their smartphones.