Apple has approved a tethering app that allows iPhone users to share their smartphone's data connection via a USB hook-up with their laptop, even if they don't have a tethering plan with their carrier. The app, iTether, has prompted questions over why Apple approved the app in the first place and how long it might last in the App Store, given carriers are unlikely to be impressed at their tethering revenue stream being curtailed.
For instance, AT&T charges $45 per month for its DataPro 4GB with Mobile Hotspot plan, which specifically allows subscribers to use the data both on their iPhone and on a wirelessly-tethered device. Verizon adds a $20 fee on top of its regular data packages if users want to share that with their laptop or tablet.
iTether costs $14.99 upfront, and doesn't support WiFi tethering at this stage, but it's certainly cheaper considering that, to the carrier at least, it supposedly looks just like an on-device app is using the data. You need an app running on your PC or Mac, in order for the system to work.
Even if Apple doesn't pull iTether from the App Store, it's possible the carriers could still crack down on use of the software. AT&T warned earlier in the year that it would cancel the plans of those using unofficial tethering apps, and Verizon has said the same thing.
Update: And just like that, iTether is seemingly gone from the App Store.