“It seems likely, then, that as soon as the Verizon iPhone comes out, Apple will pump an official iOS update for all devices down the pipeline, bringing the Hotspot app to all devices, including iPads. Naturally, the carriers probably have some control over how a subscriber can use that Hotspot app on their existing plans, but it seems pretty likely that all iPhone owners will be able to tether their devices to their 3G connection via WiFi soon enough.”
Phone companies do have ways of spotting people tethering, the easiest being massive spikes in data usage. But some Android users have had tethering built-in for a while (notably on the stock Nexus One), and I’ve yet to hear of anyone having problems.
What I’ve found using tethering occasionally on my Nexus One, though, is that it reduces the battery life massively: an hour of use, and it’s gone. By comparison, a dedicated device like the 3 MiFi 2 gives me several hours, easily.
Given that Apple focuses hard on battery life, and making sure that no app drains the battery too much, it will be interesting to see what its done to stop WiFi sharing killing your battery in record time.
This evening I spent some time (along with a bunch of other bloggers and assorted geeks) hearing about and looking at the successor to Three’s MiFi. And, if my first impressions are correct, I think that Three has addressed just about every issue that I had with the original MiFi, and then some.
Most of the improvements that have been made to the MiFi are around usability, which gets a big “hurrah” from me. As a concept, I loved MiFi. Having your own portable wireless hotspot means you don’t have to play the SIM-swapping game if you have multiple devices you want to use when out and about – or, worse still, have multiple 3G contracts, one for each device.
And there’s no doubt that if you have a device like the WiFi-only iPad, the previous MiFi was a perfectly good, functional way of getting it connected online, anywhere.
The problem with it was that functional was just about all you could say. It worked, and when connected, worked well. But connecting was not exactly an enjoyable process. Press one button to turn it on. Press a second button to start up the 3G data connection. Press a third button to start up WiFi. Wait until all the lights stopped flashing, and then try and work out the cryptic combination of reds, greens and ambers. Then hope that you didn’t lose the signal – because if you did, you’d have to go through the same sequence again. Continue reading →