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iPhone 3G as Bluetooth-Modem?

114100 Views 121 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2008 1:57 AM by mixmasterdan RSS
  • Michael Lafferty Level 6 Level 6 (16,080 points)
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    Jun 11, 2008 11:33 PM (in response to alexgee)
    Right…

    Which is why at&t provides for DUN connections with virtually every other device they sell or give away, when coupled with an applicable data plan. A brilliant analysis on your part.

    Is this your first wireless carrier experience?
    PowerBook G4 12 inch 1.5 GHz 1280 meg 80 gig SuperDrive, Mac OS X (10.4.11), coupled with a UMA-capable Nokia 6086 and T-Mobile HotSpotâ„¢ @Home
  • Sune Lilbaek Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 12, 2008 1:38 PM (in response to stohl)
    Without being able to work as a Blue-Tooth modem, I cannot see how it can be an Enterprise phone?

    I currently use a Nokia N73 as a modem, and so do all of my colleagues, when we travel. This works fine - and we do pay pr. MB (especially when abroad - ouch...), and this is what we expect when travelling.

    Mac OS X has excellent support for phones as bluetooth modems. And I need this before I can replace my old trusty N73.

    I live in Europe and do not care about AT&T. But if the AT&T issue is really what influences Apple not to provide this functionality, AT&T should use the opportunity to earn some extra bucks when load exceeds a given "max" (that is, skip unlimited), instead of limiting the functionality of the device.

    /Sune
    MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz / Mac Mini 1.42 GHz / PowerBook 1.25 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.3)
  • MobileDev Level 3 Level 3 (565 points)
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    Jun 12, 2008 1:45 PM (in response to Sune Lilbaek)
    It's obviously not ATT blocking tethering.

    1) They let most of their other phones do it.
    2) The iPhone doesn't tether with ANY carrier in the world.

    Look to Apple instead.
    Touchscreen laptop and industrial handhelds, Other OS
  • stephen w Calculating status...
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    Jun 12, 2008 6:43 PM (in response to MobileDev)
    Should I keep my AT&T aircard if I plan on getting the 3G iPhone? I mean, isn't this somewhat of a redundancy for basic (non-business related) surfing? I mean the only thing missing on the iPhone that I have on my Macbook Air is Flash support. Basic surfing should be ok on the new iphone, right?

    Message was edited by: stephen w
    MBA 1.8/64 SSD w/Super Drive, Mac OS X (10.5.2), iMac 20"/Time Capsule 1TB/8 GB iPhone/Bose QC3's
  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 3:03 AM (in response to stohl)
    The original iPhone does not do tethering (aka. DUN). While some people ascribe this to AT&T, the reality is that the iPhone (original) does not have the required Bluetooth profile, in other words it is Apple that blocked it.

    Now, what has not been mentioned here explicitly, is that if it had been possible the user experience would have been way below what Steve Jobs would consider acceptable.

    I have used a mobile phone with a similar 2G data connection 'tethered' to a Mac, and the speed was truly awful. Remember not only would you be using a very slow data connection but on top of that you would have the Bluetooth overhead making the latency and speed even worse. After all one of the biggest complaints about the original iPhone is the speed of its data connection, how would it be any more acceptable via Bluetooth to a laptop?

    Now, that the new iPhone is 3G, the picture changes somewhat. While basic 3G is better than GPRS or EDGE, again having used it in the real world (via a data card) I can tell you that 3G is only barely acceptable. This is why the networks have since moved on to HSDPA which is much, much faster than basic 3G, and HSUPA which ups the speed even more!

    The new iPhone does support HSDPA (as well as the basic 3G data) but does not support HSUPA. So from a data speed point of view the iPhone is now up to providing a sufficiently good user experience if Apple allow it.

    There has been one article by 9to5mac quoting an unnofficial O2 source in the UK, that suggests tethering will be allowed. As others have mentioned, this is possible and allowed by other phones and the same networks. I have one user in my company that has a Nokia N95 which also supports HSDPA and he has an 'unlimited' data allowance and is able to tether it to his PowerBook (he uses a USB cable but Bluetooth would be possible as well).

    Personally, I am more doubtful that Apple will allow this, but I ascribe this more to forgetting to consider the changed circumstances than deliberately doing so.

    Currently the Bluetooth support of the iPhone is truly dire. You cannot use a Bluetooth keyboard, you cannot print to a Bluetooth photo printer, you cannot connect a Bluetooth GPS device (obviously this is less of an issue for the new iPhone), no stereo headset support, and you cannot even connect it to a Mac at all! It would also be nice to be able to 'transmit' your 'business card' from the iPhone to another phone (of any make).
    PowerBook G4, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Trevor Harmon Calculating status...
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    Jun 13, 2008 8:56 AM (in response to stohl)
    9to5Mac claims that O2 will allow Bluetooth tethering on the 3G iPhone.

    http://www.9to5mac.com/o2-iphone
  • Trevor Harmon Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 9:06 AM (in response to John Lockwood)
    +...it is Apple that blocked it...the user experience would have been way below what Steve Jobs would consider acceptable... I have used a mobile phone with a similar 2G data connection 'tethered' to a Mac, and the speed was truly awful.+

    I'm sorry, but that is just a ridiculous argument. I too have used 2G tethering over Bluetooth, and yes, it's terribly slow. But it still works! The point of tethering is not to get blazing fast speeds but to be able get on the Internet no matter where you are. Sure, the bandwidth isn't much better than dial-up, but you get it everywhere: at a hotel, on the bus, in the airport, at a park... Anywhere you go, you've always got Internet access. To deny users such an important ability simply because they might not be happy with the speed is just crazy.
  • Paul Judd Level 6 Level 6 (13,420 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 9:12 AM (in response to Trevor Harmon)
    If you need to use the cellular network on a laptop, AT&T will gladly sell you a card devoted for that purpose. Thats how a lot of enterprise users do it. Nobody in our company uses tethering at all, they use a network card to get dedicated speed. If they need it that badly, they can afford the costs associated with it. Any other surfing can be done on the iPhone itself.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.3), BlackBook 2.16 Core2Duo - 3GB RAM
  • Trevor Harmon Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 9:34 AM (in response to Paul Judd)
    +Nobody in our company uses tethering at all, they use a network card to get dedicated speed.+

    What about enterprise users who have a MacBook or MacBook Air? (Only the MacBook Pro has a card slot.) Bluetooth tethering is an attractive option in that case. And even when a slot is available, it's nice not having to pack extra equipment when traveling.

    As for the cost involved, I don't see why Internet access on the road has to be a luxury that only enterprise users can afford. The card option can be the high-end, high-speed option for business people who need it, while the Bluetooth tethering option can be the low-end, low-speed solution for the rest of us.
  • Tamara Level 6 Level 6 (13,720 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 9:43 AM (in response to Trevor Harmon)
    I've never had any problem using wifi with my Macbook while on the road. In the US, at least, it's not hard to find hotels, restaurants, libraries that offer free wifi.
    MacBook , Mini, Airport Express, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • deggie Level 8 Level 8 (44,870 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 12:48 PM (in response to Trevor Harmon)
    Or you could use a USB aircard.
    MacPro Dual Core 2.66 Ghz, MacBook Pro 15", Mac OS X (10.5.2), AEXs, Red 2G Nano, Red Shuffle, 16GB Touch, 160 GB Classic, White 60GB 5G
  • ibosie Level 4 Level 4 (1,115 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 1:19 PM (in response to John Lockwood)
    @John Lockwood re "The new iPhone does support HSDPA (as well as the basic 3G data) but does not support HSUPA."

    That's a very useful fact to know, thanks. Is this an Apple restriction? What is the iPhone's maximum upload speed in this case? O2's 3G mobile broadband supports HSUPA although the most i've seen is around 600kbps of the 2.1Mbps. I wonder if the upload limitation is also a reason why iChat didn't make it to the iPhone. MobileMe would certainly benefit from better upload.
    MacPro 3.2Ghz 2GB RAM, Macbook Pro 15" 2.2Ghz 2GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.2), Be* Pro 24576/2560kbps on Netgear DG834GT and AEBSn
  • Sparkemon Calculating status...
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    Jun 13, 2008 2:00 PM (in response to stohl)
    I have another thread on the same subject going and I think this is possible and I am trying to find out why it is not an option yet. AT&T does offer plans for tethering the BB and other phones in addition to the normal data plan for the phone. Check out the AT&T web site for the Blackberry data plan and you will see that for $60.00 a month you can have data on the BB and also tether the BB to your PC. With the iPhone to get to the same place you would have to buy an Aircard and that puts the monthly fees up to $90.00 a month for two data plans. I don't use enough air time to make the Aircard worth while but to be able to tether the iPhone for an emergency or while out of town would be great and wold be fast enough for no more than I use it.
    Compaq Evo N200, Other OS, Mac Mini, iPhone and lots of others
  • Paul Judd Level 6 Level 6 (13,420 points)
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    Jun 13, 2008 2:11 PM (in response to Trevor Harmon)
    Trevor Harmon wrote:
    What about enterprise users who have a MacBook or MacBook Air? (Only the MacBook Pro has a card slot.) Bluetooth tethering is an attractive option in that case. And even when a slot is available, it's nice not having to pack extra equipment when traveling.


    None of them have MacBooks or the air, however there are ones that use USB connections. However most enterprise users are PC users anyway.

    As for the cost involved, I don't see why Internet access on the road has to be a luxury that only enterprise users can afford. The card option can be the high-end, high-speed option for business people who need it, while the Bluetooth tethering option can be the low-end, low-speed solution for the rest of us.


    The individual costs from AT&T for a data card is 60 bucks. The cheapest tethering plan is a 60 dollar add on with a talk plan else its 65 bucks. I fail to see where the luxury is here. Both have the same data restrictions too.

    Oh and by the way. AT&T has a [USB data connect card|http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-details/?device= AT%26TUSBConnect881&q_sku=sku1120017] too. Its Mac Compatible.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.3), BlackBook 2.16 Core2Duo - 3GB RAM
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