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Apple's iPhoneware update snuffs tethering hack

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Apple released its iPhone Software 3.1 beta 2 on Tuesday, and today, the web is alive with reports that the release has disabled a hack that allowed fanbois to use the iPhone 3G and 3GS as wireless broadband modems for laptops and PCs.

This capability - known as tethering - was touted as one of the benefits of 3.0 when Apple sang its praises at its Worldwide Developers Conference last month. Unfortunately, Apple also announced at that time that the iPhone's exclusive US carrier, AT&T, wouldn't support tethering until it was damn well good and ready.

That, of course, didn't stop enterprising souls from figuring out how to enable that capability. The IPCC carrier files hack they discovered worked just fine - although not formally supported by AT&T - until iPhone Software 3.1 beta 2 was released.

In the new beta - an "upgrade" to the 3.1 beta released earlier this month - the tethering hack no longer works, according to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Engadget, and others.

AT&T has not yet said when they will enable tethering or what they will charge for it. The closest they have come to a solid statement is to be found on the company's Facebook page, where they deny rumors that tethering will cost $55 per month.

"There are a lot of reports out there," the post reads, "but wanted you guys to know that rumors of $55 tethering plan on top of an unlimited data plan are false. We’ll have more news to share when the iPhone tethering option is closer to launch."

Exactly when "closer to launch" might be is still unknown. The same post says that tethering is coming "in the future." Which, it must be admitted, is about as vague as one can get. ®

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