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ECT News Community   »   MacNewsWorld Talkback   »   Re: Sharing 3G: This Is Where the iPad and iPhone Simply Suck

Re: Sharing 3G: This Is Where the iPad and iPhone Simply Suck
Posted by: Chris Maxcer 2010-05-18 08:29:50
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Here in the U.S., iPhone owners still can't tether their iPhones to MacBooks to get on-the-go Internet access for their Macs or PCs. They can't do it for expensive monthly plans, nor can they do it via a new iPad-like pay-as-you-go option, either. It's 2010 and there are two facts that blow my mind: The iPad won't let you tether its data to a MacBook, and you can't use your iPhone connection to tether to an iPad. At least in some other countries in the world with more robust networks, iPhone tethering is available.

Posted by: smurray13 2010-05-21 09:54:16 In reply to: Chris Maxcer
I consistently read 14 tech blogs and over 50 articles a day. The day after you wrote this article it was released that tethering will be available as part of the iPhone OS 4. Barring that fact, and considering this site is directed towards "Mac Intelligence for the Enterprise", this is one of the worst pieces of internet journalism I have ever read. It is shortsighted and poorly written. This article has an effect on my opinion of this site as a whole that I will be reminded of every time I read it.

You must not read very closely
Posted by: CMaxcer 2010-05-22 19:05:34 In reply to: smurray13
The day after I wrote this article, several sites reported that a beta of OS4 contained a notice about AT&T tethering, and many of these sites also noted that tethering was first available with iPhone OS 3, and that a similar capability was spotted in the iPhone OS 3 beta regarding AT&T a year ago, and yet, when iPhone OS 3 was officially released a year ago, AT&T did not provide any option for customers to tether. To date, AT&T has been all tethering talk and zero substance. Maybe, if we're lucky, AT&T will offer tethering at a reasonable price at some possible point in the future, maybe even this year.

Perhaps Apple slipped the tethering notice into the beta as part of all of its iPhone OS 4 betas, knowing that developers would notice and spill the beans, thereby giving AT&T another subtle little public slap to get their act together for tethering. Either way, Apple and AT&T are partners in the iPhone world in the U.S., and unless you jailbreak and break your End User License Agreement with Apple, the only way to have an Apple iPhone is with AT&T.

Let's explore how this works: what if say, Ford, produced a hot new Mustang but when Ford sold you the Mustang, you had to agree to only use it on certain roads owned by Ford's business partner, Roads-r-Us. Unfortunately, Roads-r-Us doesn't have a lot of great highways, just a lot of gravel roads with lots of bumps. But still, it's a Mustang, right, and wicked fast. But unfortunately, you can't use it on any other roads or highways. In effect, you've got a hobbled Mustang. Who's fault is that? Roads-r-Us? Yes. How about Ford? Yes -- because Ford chose to package the Mustang with Roads-r-Us, intentionally, not only contractually, exclusively, but also when it comes to marketing. Sure, after a while, Ford might realize that Roads-r-Us sucks and is limiting the potential of the Mustang, but still, the fact remains: Ford is only letting Americans buy Mustangs if they agree to only drive on Roads-r-Us roads.

Sounds a little asinine, no? This is what we've got with AT&T and Apple, and as much as I love Apple products, both companies suck when it comes to 3G data sharing.

I love most every Apple product, but every now and then, it's time to take off the rose colored glasses and consider the limitations where they clearly are.

So, shortsighted? Right now, AT&T does not offer tethering for iPhone customers, but AT&T does offer tethering for other smartphone customers. Right now, AT&T has nothing. AT&T, as it turns out, has nothing but empty tethering promises, which were only vague promises in the first place. As for Apple, Apple isn't saying that AT&T customers will be able to tether this summer, this year, or ever. And Apple isn't saying that iPhone customers will be able to use a different carrier in the U.S., today, tomorrow, this year or next year. Today, Apple says you can buy an iPhone with AT&T service. In fact, today, Apple wants you to buy an iPhone 3G S with a two-year AT&T contract, while AT&T is increasing its early termination fees, all the while Apple and AT&T both know full well that Apple is going to release a better iPhone model in this summer.

If any enterprise, for example, not to mention consumers, are making purchase choices based on zero specific promises from any company, that enterprise would be shortsighted to say the least. Enterprises, and people, should not make buying decisions based on the chance or hope that a service provider will provide a service it won't -- or can't -- commit to. So, if you live in the U.S. and you want tethering with a smartphone, are you going to buy an iPhone? Maybe, but you should know that you're betting on a hope that AT&T will provide tethering. If you call AT&T or Apple and ask them when they'll offer tethering, you won't get a straight answer.

I'm talking about pathetic services packages
Posted by: CMaxcer 2010-05-19 07:28:41 In reply to: Chris Maxcer
I meant to be pretty clear about the iPhone and iPad in the United States, where users are limited to AT&T's network due to Apple's decision to produce iPhones that will only work with AT&T's network through their contractual agreement. The iPhone is a separate hardware product than the mobile service provided by AT&T, right? On paper, yes, but for everyone in the U.S. who hasn't unlocked their iPhones, AT&T is a big part of the iPhone equation. As long as Apple builds and sells phones that will only work with AT&T, that's their choice. To the consumer it's this: your iPhone experience is dependent on your AT&T experience. Where is this highly noticeable? The lack of tethering for the iPhone in the U.S.

This sucks. The two are interconnected. Apple hater? Really? Who loves having Apple products that are hobbled for no good reason? Owning an iPhone in the U.S. is like having the best sandwich in the world except, sorry, you can't have the top slice of bread. Sure, it's a great sandwhich still, but something's not quite finished. AT&T and tethering is that top slice of bread. (And I think it's fantastic that other people in the world get their top slices via tethering via their networks.)

As for the iPad with 3G, it is artificially tied to itself and its data plan with AT&T. While the data plan with AT&T is a step forward -- no contract -- the operating system and hardware are perfectly capable of tethering with a MacBook. But they can't. Why? Apple says no. Of course, Apple may be saying no because AT&T is saying no. Is Apple clarifying this for anyone? No. Consequently, this means the iPad can't do it. Why split hairs? You still can't do it. Either way, there's also no reason that an iPhone 3G S couldn't tether with an iPad, thus eliminating the need for a separate plan for the iPad. Obviously people with tons of cash don't care one way or another.

So what is the net effect here? You've got two wonderful devices that are artificially placed into islands and are limited for no good reason.

While I was on this point, the major cellular service providers in the United States also have really bad data plans that are tied to draconian long-term contracts and are not consumer friendly at all. Take the MiFi -- fantastic device -- and yet, if you're not a business or someone flush with cash, your options are limited by steep contracts and tiny data download allotments.

All of these services overlap with one another for no good reason, other than to limit data access and keep prices high. I'm sure the data service providers have nice equations to figure out the profitability.

One last thing about the iPad: You're right about the GPS unit in the 3G version -- that little feature would be on my short list and worth the extra cash. I overlooked the GPS feature. My bad. (My buddy didn't care about that, though, as he was thinking of the MiFi.)

Posted by: hobart 2010-05-18 13:13:33 In reply to: Chris Maxcer
Ok, so I have in my hands a brand new 3g s and it has tethering capabilities and it does work I am in Boston and the phone is about 6 hrs new ( from Att store )
soooo what are you talking about??

What are you comparing the iPad to?
Posted by: drpalmer 2010-05-18 12:48:05 In reply to: Chris Maxcer
The iPad can't tether to a phone?
And the competition's "i whatever" can?
Exactly what are you comparing the iPad to?
Only 1 million + sold in a month of these things that "suck"

Are you just being the Devil's advocate?
Do you really believe in what you write?

Sounds like the 6 o'clock news lead in.
"Apple sucks again, stay tuned for details"

Why are you blaming Apple?
Posted by: mrrt 2010-05-18 08:43:30 In reply to: Chris Maxcer
We're all tethering our iPhones to our laptops here in Australia from just about all carriers which you even admit in your article and yet in both your article title and in the body of the article you keep blaming Apple for the lack of tethering in the USA.

Put the blame where it deserves to be - with AT&T and stop dragging an innocent party in.

Apple is the frustrated partner in this.

Secondly, you criticise the $130 premium of the 3G iPad over the wifi-only version and yet you neglect to mention that you also get a built-in GPS which alone, I would pay that much extra for. At last, a reasonably priced GPS that can actually show decent sized maps.

Well done MacNewsworld yet again you manage to maintain your stirling reputation for ignorant anti-Apple rhetoric.

Jump to:
If my employer requires me to return to the company's office full-time to perform my job, I will...
Agree, because I like my job regardless of where I perform my duties.
Comply, because I can't afford to lose my current job.
Go with the flow, but start looking for different employment.
Resign immediately, so I can dedicate all of my time to find a job that better suits my needs.
Try to negotiate a hybrid work from home / work in office arrangement with my employer.