MacRumors reports that the latest iPhone 3.1 beta 2 OS release breaks hacks that allow AT&T customers to tether their phones to their PCs for wireless access. As all iPhone enthusiasts know, “legal” tethering is available in most other countries already, but AT&T hasn’t yet rolled out the feature to US iPhone customers.
It’s not surprising the latest OS update breaks tethering hacks. Since the introduction of the iPhone, there has been a cat-and-mouse game between Apple/AT&T and hackers looking to make their phones a little more open than allowed under the iPhone operating agreement. Most hacks are wiped out by new OS upgrades, but are quickly re-hacked by enthusiastic coders looking to expand the iPhone’s capabilities and access functionality not yet officially available on the device, like video capture on the iPhone 3G (prior to the 3.0 OS release).
The tethering hack though seems to be more of a stick in the eye to AT&T. Obviously, the iPhone is fully capable of supporting tethering via USB or Bluetooth, but customers say AT&T is dragging its feet when it comes rolling out the service. There is also the issue of how much extra change a tethering plan will cost iPhone customers, who already shell out $30 for unlimited data service. Other rumors peg tethering plans ranging from $10 to $55, depending on the source. AT&T has shot down the rumors though and says more details will be forthcoming as the unannounced launch date gets closer.
Personally, I want the MMS functionality turned on first. It’s ridiculous that my fancy iPhone can’t send or receive a picture message, but my wife’s basic cell phone on another network can.