iPhone tethering, theft recovery hidden in 3.0 firmware

Take a seat, cut & paste.

An intrepid iPhone developer has stumbled upon a way to use the device's wireless Internet access as a modem for computers. Mac Rumors first reported the availability of the tethering feature, pointing to a tweet from @Stroughtonsmith that claimed he didn't know how he got it working, but included screenshots of the tethering settings menu.

"Tethering" is not a technical challenge – that much was made clear by Apple's Scott Forstall at Tuesday's press conference and confirmed by Mr. Troughton-Smith. "The question now," as PC World puts it, "is whether carriers want to shoulder the burden tethering would create on its networks – and the burden is huge."

Traditionally, wireless carriers have charged an extra fee for allowing wireless handsets to share their Internet connections with laptops, as it's a useful tool, but uses up much more bandwidth than most mobile devices surfing on their own.

An electronic leash

Also not making headlines in the first stories about the 100 new features in the iPhone 3.0 firmware but worth a mention, is a function that lets the handset "phone home" if lost or stolen. Called "Find My iPhone," the setting lets subscribers to Apple's Mobile Me service turn on a distress signal if they lose their iPhone. (It's happened to me, and it isn't fun).

Appleinsider explains how the tracking system could work, and points to a case where a similar Mobile Me service, called "Back to my Mac," reunited a computer and its rightful owner by capturing the IP address, personal details, and even a photo of the alleged thief.

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