iOS 4.3 to add Wireless Hotspot to iPhone
The upcoming iOS 4.3 update will bring the “Personal Hotspot” feature seen on the Verizon iPhone to all iPhones including those on the AT&T network. If this rumor holds true, this means that any iPhone could become a wireless hotspot that other devices can access the internet from. (Yes, you can turn your iPhone into a Wi-Fi hotspot right now, but it requires a jailbreak which puts it out of the reach of most iPhone users.)
Assuming AT&T offers carrier support for Personal Hotspot, it would be a compelling reason for users to stay with AT&T rather than leave for the newly available Verizon iPhone. This is because AT&T customers should theoretically be able to use the wireless hotspot while talking on the phone, whereas CDMA limitations cause data transfer to pause when a phone call is taken on the Verizon CDMA network.
Thus far AT&T has been quiet on supporting the feature, but considering Verizon is openly advertising the personal hotspot on their iPhone, it may be wise for AT&T to chime in and say “us too” to stem some of the potential carrier exodus. Aside from AT&T and Verizon, a wireless hotspot feature has been long overdue in iOS, and up until now this has been a feature limited to the jailbreak world and those with Android phones. It just makes sense for Apple to bring the wireless hotspot feature to the iPhone to level the increasingly competitive playing field with Android.
Remember, this is technically still a rumor, but multiple sources have come forward with confirmations. The rumor began on a few European iPhone enthusiast sites, and finally screenshots appeared on RedmondPie (seen above) where they were given a March release date for iOS 4.3, which includes the iOS wireless Personal Hotspot feature. Let’s hope it’s true and that all carriers support the feature.