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Apple's current iPad software won't allow iPhone tethering

When AT&T customers in the U.S. finally have access to tethering on their iPhone, it won't work with Apple's iPad due to software limitations, not AT&T policy.

Reports surfaced online Thursday that tethering between the iPhone and iPad would not be possible. AppleInsider contacted AT&T, and was told that the matter is a question for Apple, as the iPad apparently does not allow tethering via USB or Bluetooth.

"This is not a policy issue," an AT&T spokesman told AppleInsider, deferring to Apple for further information on the subject.

Apple's own documentation on tethering for the iPhone 3GS with iPhone OS 3.0 and up states that it is only possible through a USB cable or Bluetooth. But prior to the release of iPhone OS 4, tethering is not yet available on the AT&T network in the U.S.

The news confirms what Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs allegedly said via e-mail in March. A user asked Jobs if the iPad would be able to tether with the Wi-Fi iPad, to which the company co-founder succinctly replied, "No."

While the reports seem to confirm that 3G tethering via Bluetooth is not available on the iPad, it is possible that Apple could add the feature to the iPad via a future software update. It's also possible that an iPhone software update could allow tethering over Wi-Fi, as some other smartphones currently do.

AT&T announced on Wednesday that it would allow tethering on the iPhone when OS 4 arrives. Users must pay $25 per month for the high-end plan with 2GB of data per month, plus an additional $20 to allow tethering. The feature allows customers to share their mobile 3G Internet connectivity with another device, such as a laptop.