One of the most requested features for the iPhone is the ability to tether the phone to feed 3G or EDGE network data to your computer. That feature was briefly a reality Thursday, thanks to Nullriver's NetShare application. MacRumors reports that, priced at $9.99, the application seems to have, somehow, slipped below Apple's radar, but was pulled down after about 20 minutes of availability in the App Store.
The application basically turns your iPhone into a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, giving all of your Wi-Fi-enabled devices internet, wherever you have a cell signal. There are similar solutions available for iPhone users who have jailbroken their handsets, but they are significantly more complicated than Nullriver's offering, and since they require a hacked phone, don't hold mainstream appeal.
Wireless carriers have almost always been opposed to tethering smartphones with unlimited data plans. Many telcos even state in your contract that if you tether your phone, you may be responsible for additional fees associated with the data that you use. Of course, for an additional cost, you can tether some phones, such as a Blackberry, but Apple's iPhone doesn't offer legitimate tethering at any cost.
Those of us who were not quick enough to grab the app while it was available on the App Store seem to be out of luck for now. Links to the application now pop up with an error message that reads, "The item you've requested is not currently available in the US store." It's not exactly clear what happened with NetShare, how it slipped through the cracks, or why it was pulled. The app may have accidentally gotten through in the avalanche of new applications that are being added to the store, however it seems unlikely that someone at Apple would have signed off on this app, not knowing what it did. It would appear that either Apple, AT&T, or both had cleared the application, then quickly reconsidered. Apple has not yet responded to a request for a comment on the issue.