One of the new features Apple announced for its latest iPad yesterday is official support for WiFi hotspot tethering, letting you share your iPad’s cellular data connection with other WiFi-capabale gadgets. We’re used to tethering being a touchy subject with carriers, but we’d think that, Apple being the master of promotion that it is, it wouldn’t make such a big deal about the new feature unless it was well-supported. The full picture’s still coming together, but for the US at least, it’s now looking like that tethering may not be available at all.
If you already pre-ordered a new iPad and checked out the various 4G data options, you might have noticed no special mention of tethering allowances, just flat data packages. Lest you go ahead and assume that tethered data would just be bundled in under that same data allowance, AT&T and Verizon have now responded to the issue over Twitter.
AT&T will not support iPad tethering at launch. That might change later, but no promises. Verizon was a little less straightforward, acknowledging that the iPad itself is set-up to do tethering, but said it had no info on tethering plans. One would think that the carrier would have its ducks in a row by now for a major product about to be released, making that answer sound more like a “no” than something ambiguous.
There’s no word yet on what the situation will be like in Canada.
It’s not that we’re surprised to see AT&T and Verizon getting all weird about tethering, but that Apple would advertise a feature that seems like it’s going to be pretty hard for many owners to use.
Update: It looks like the situation isn’t nearly so dire. Verizon, at least, will include tethering as part of its standard tablet data package.