For the non-cognoscenti, one of the upcoming features of the next version of the iPhone operating system is that, with the approval of the phone network, you’ll be able to use your iPhone as an Internet connection for a computer.
The worrying part of all that is the “approval of the phone network” part, as it’s quite possible that O2 will decide not to offer this feature to UK iPhone users. Which would suck rather a lot, really.
I’m hoping they will allow it, and here’s why:
1) Your SIM card that gives you access to the service is already portable. There’s nothing stopping you putting it into some other device that maybe does support tethering, and using the unlimited data from that device.
2) Lots of people jailbreak their iPhones. You can bet those lot will hack it up to allow tethering, and it would be pretty bad if the legit people got stuffed quite so badly.
3) There’s already an acceptable use policy. Use for web, email etc. is fine, and that’s pretty much what people want tethering for, so that they can use those things from the slightly more comfortable environs of a full-size computer. They could already easily cut off people who used it for BitTorrent or the like with that existing policy.
Honestly though, for me it’s just not that big a feature. Unless you count my Asus EEE, I don’t really have a laptop. My iPhone has rather neatly filled the portable computer niche for me – the only things I would feel uncomfortable using it for would be typing out a lot of text, so long emails and blog posts have to wait for a proper computer.
Short emails and Twitter though – very much iPhone territory.
I have to confess, I’ll be interested to see if Apple announces a hardware refresh, and if O2 will offer any sort of upgrade deal. If the terms are reasonable, I can easily imagine myself taking it up, especially if it fixes some of the slight hardware complaints with the existing phone (poor battery life, no camera flash, no camera video!)
Even with those defects, and the many others, the iPhone is still quite possibly the best gadget I’ve ever owned. You can tell the quality of the product by the number of imitators it’s spawned; the iPhone and the EEE both fit into this commendable category.