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iOS 4.3, Personal Hotspots & O2

Those of you that follow Apple will have noticed this week that they released iOS 4.3 to developers – iOS being the operating system which runs the iPhone, iPad and AppleTV.  While there are a number of tweaks in the latest beta release there are two main features which have been widely publicised:  AirPlay for Video and Personal Hotspots.  I want to discuss the personal Hot Spots, because I was excited enough about this to go and download the new version of iOS straight away…

What is Personal Hotspot.

MiFi Hotspot
MiFi Hotspot – You’ll still need one.

Personal Hotspot will allow you to turn your phone into a wireless network, and connect up to 5 devices to it to share it’s 3G data connection.  It will become a sort of MiFi.  I am interested in it because I currently carry around (and pay for) a 3G mobile broadband dongle so I can use my laptop if I am away from WiFi, and this would do away with this as I could just connect my laptop to my iPhone’s Wireless Network.

This is a feature which the iPhone needs to keep up with a number of Android handsets which already have the WiFi hotspot capability.

I currently pay 3 £15 a month for 15Gb of data through my dongle, although I rarely use that much.  I am allowed 500Mb of Data on my O2 iPhone tarriff, so I expected to pay a bit more to allow more data using the hotspot feature.

Tethering & O2 Bolt On.

Sure enough, to use the Hotspot feature your iPhone has to be enabled for tethering – which requires a bolt on from O2.  Further research though suggests it is a terrible value bolt on.  O2 want £7.50 for 500Mb a month.   So to get the same allowance I have from 3 I would have to pay £225 a month.    A complete and utter rip-off – now I remember why I never had it in the first place.

To make things worse Android users can already use their inclusive 500Mb allowance through their WiFi hotspot without having to pay anything extra.  Oh, and 3 offer “all you can eat data” on their iPhone tarriffs (although it does make reference to not using phone as a modem)…

… are O2 trying to cripple the iPhone? They need new tariffs before this feature goes public (estimated March), or it is an expensive feature which Android users get free!!

Interesting Links for June 28th.

These are my interesting links for June 28th:

iPhone Development in Visual Studio?

Thanks to @StuartDavies on twitter for posting a link to a MacRumours article which suggests that Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, will appear as part of Steve Jobs’ keynote address to the Apple World Wide Developers Conference on June 7th.

iPhone 4 ?
iPhone 4 ?

The WWDC is usually used by Apple for major announcements of new products and features – and it seems this year will be no exception.  Its widely rumoured, following a series of high profile leaks /gaffes, that the new iPhone 4 will be formally announced at WWDC.

Leaks & Secrecy.

Normally Apple keep the exact contents of the WWDC keynote address (usually from Mr Jobs himself) veiled in secrecy, something they have become famed for.  With what is widely believed to be the iPhone 4 having been splashed all over the web, and the new features of iPhone OS4 publicly stated and a Beta available to developers – its been suggested that this years WWDC might be something of a let down with no real new products to announce.

Could this be it?

The rumoured announcement that Ballmer might appear at WWDC would certainly give the event back its “surprise” value, but I personally think even his appearance is very unlikely – let alone Apple announcing that iPhone Development is going to be permitted from Visual Studio.  The arguments forwarded against this on the web are largely that Apple and Microsoft have historically been very competitive.  While this holds some merit I believe Apple’s loyalty is very quickly changed… just look at how Apple and Adobe & Apple and Google have fallen out of love of late having previously been bed fellows.  Apple could just as easily decide Microsoft could now be a friend; so I don’t think previous grudges would prevent this.

Technology / Licencing.

I think the bigger reason it won’t work is that the .NET framework and the Cocoa classes are fundamentally different.  It would need changes to both to present developers with a usable development environment; and Microsoft have only just released VS2010.   There is a product called MonoTouch, from Novell (remember them?), which allows development in C# and using some of the .NET assemblies on the Mac and cross compile this into applications which work on the iPhone / iPad.

Historically apps made with Mono have been approved and allowed to be distributed on the App Store; but the latest licensing agreement from Apple expressly prohibits the use of non ObjectiveC and non documented API’s.  In my opinion this makes MonoTouch, and also most likely VS2010 unusable in compliance with the agreement.  That said, Apple have been very selective in the past about how they choose to enforce agreements; and it could be argued this is a clause to further their ongoing spat with Adobe over Flash.


Another big headache which would need to be overcome before VS2010 could be used to develop apps for iPhone OS is that of distribution.  Microsoft would need to write code to allow for the packing of applications in a different way so they could be distributed via the App Store.  Perhaps this could be done with a Visual Studio add in…

The Big Problem.

Develop For Both?
Develop For Both?

Microsoft have been spending vast amounts of time, money and effort of late coming up with Windows Mobile 7, and the requiste development tool kits.  Have they really had time to also develop the tools needed to code for iPhone OS too?  I doubt it.

At the same time Apple have been spending vast amounts of time, money and effort developing iPhone 4 and iPhone OS4.  They won’t have had time to develop plugins for Visual Studio 2010 to allow iPhone development either.  Oh, and the two products directly compete – where would the advantage be for either party?

All that said, I am prepared to eat my hat on June 7th if need be.

Interesting Links for May 27th.

These are my interesting links for May 27th:

Interesting Links for May 20th.

These are my interesting links for May 20th:

Interesting Links for May 17th.

These are my interesting links for May 17th:

Interesting Links for April 20th.

These are my interesting links for April 20th:

Interesting Links for April 19th.

These are my interesting links for April 19th: