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Apple pulls iTether from iPhone App Store [u]

A new iOS application that allows users to tether their Mac or PC to an iPhone 3G data connection without paying a carrier for the ability was pulled from the iPhone App Store on Tuesday [updated].

As of Tuesday morning, iTether was still available on the App Store for $14.99. But later in the day, the application was pulled and can no longer be downloaded. It was a one-time charge, compared to the recurring $20 tethering plan offered to iPhone users by AT&T.

AT&T has previously cracked down on unauthorized tethering by iPhone users, an ability that can be accomplished by "jailbreaking" the handset to run unauthorized code. Those users have been warned by the carrier that they will be automatically charged for a tethering plan due to their high data usage.

But unlike previous jailbreak solutions, the iTether offering was approved by Apple for sale in its controlled App Store environment. Its removal confirms the approval was an error.

User interest in the iTether software for iPhone was so popular that the developer's official website has been brought down by traffic. That's a problem for those who buy iTether, as a Mac or PC client is required for the iPhone's 3G data connection to be accessed on a separate machine.

For comparison, those who buy official carrier-sanctioned tethering on their iPhone use the Personal Hotspot feature, which allows a 3G data connection to be shared with other devices over Wi-Fi. Personal Hotspot does not require any special software to be installed on a separate device.

The Personal Hotspot feature was launched earlier this year with the debut of the Verizon iPhone, and later came to GSM iPhones with the launch of the iOS 4.3 software update.