UPDATE: The app has now been pulled from the App Store. See here for more details.
The App Store approval process is notoriously finicky. Though improvements to the process have been made in the last year, it remains common for apps to be rejected without apparent reason. Sometimes, however, apps that should be rejected manage to sneak through the approval process. The latest app to sneak through is iTether [iTunes link]. The app allows users to share their phone’s data access with their computers via a USB connection, a service previously available only to those who pay for it, or are willing to jailbreak their phones. While the price tag of the app is a bit steep at $14.99, it is significantly cheaper than the monthly tethering plans offered by AT&T or Verizon.
The iTether app appears to have originated with Tether, a company specializing in mobile tethering solutions, primarily with BlackBerry devices until now. The app is extremely simple, with only a single screen showing data traffic, and no apparent settings or options.
This is not the first time a tethering app has managed to make it through the approval process, however it does appear to be the most brazen. Last July an app called Handy Light was approved. While iTether makes no secret of what it does, Handy Light was much different. The app appeared to be just one more of dozens upon dozens of flashlight apps. However, a somewhat convoluted setup process allowed users access to an Easter egg that enabled wi-fi tethering for iPhone users.
Did you get iTether? Does it work? Let us know in the comments.
Reactions on Twitter are fairly consistent, with most users amazed that the app was approved at all, and encouraging their followers to get it while they can.
The iTether app is still available (not sure for how long though). The only thing is it cost $15. But AT&T charges $20/mo for same function.
One Twitter user made sure to warn people that although iTether allows plan-free tethering, there may yet be a cost:
Remember iTether peeps: AT&T is cracking down on unofficial iPhone tethering.
How iTether made it into the App Store is unclear. What is certain, however, is that its time is limited. The app has been live since sometime this morning, and the hammer is expected to fall at any time.