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Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot tool coming to all iPhones?

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Apple's next big iOS release - presumably iOS 4.3 - will bring the Verizon iPhone 4's personal Wi-Fi hotspot feature to the GSM versions of the handset.

So says a Dutch telco mole cited by local iPhone fansite iPhoneclub. A Greek site makes the same claim, though there's nothing to indicate that it got the info independently of iPhoneclub, which it credits.

The ViPhone 4 runs iOS 4.2.5, a small step up from the current release, 4.2.1.

Apple likes to be neat about these things, so it's likely to unify iOS in the near future, presumably with iOS 4.3.

That said, Apple is well able to maintain multiple versions of iOS for different versions of the same hardware, so 'Verizon iOS' may remain separate from 'regular iOS' for some time yet.

In any case, the operating system is smart enough to only present to the user options that are only relevant to his or her hardware - 3GS owners don't see any FaceTime stuff, for example - that there's no guarantee the rest of us will see Personal Hotspot, as the MiFi-style feature is called, in any case.

Screenshots show the Personal Hotspot also allows a device to connect to the internet through the ViPhone over a Bluetooth connection, a feature that the current iPhone's Tethering settings provide. No one has scrolled down far enough to see if USB linkage is in there too.

But it suggests Personal Hotspot will replace Tethering in a future iOS' settings app - or at least use Tethering for wired, USB hook-ups. But whether, as is not the case now with Tethering, carriers make Personal Hotspot easy to use, remains to be seen. ®

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