Tethering will be the next mobile innovation that will be in all future mobile phones. Tethering is a process of using your mobile phone signal to surf the net on another device. The second device could be anything from a laptop, iPad, iPod or even another cell phone if you wanted. Tethering can be done one of three ways; Wifi, USB and Bluetooth. The most convenient ways are WiFi and BT because you don't have to take your phone out of your pocket at all. Just set up the WiFi or BT link and leave your phone where its at and start surfing the web on your iPad. Tethering over USB is a bit more complicated because it will probably require some third party software to get it working.
The iPhone was supposed to get tethering back when OS 3.0 was announce. It was a big deal along with the ability to MMS from an iPhone. Steve Jobs sold everyone on the idea that MMS and tethering were new and coming soon. Well, a year later and MMS was introduced back in September 09 and there's still no tethering on the iPhone. It's been written into the iPhone software because its been available to other countries since Q4 09. Why hasn't Apple turned tethering? The answer is really simple. They haven't turned it on because it'll put even more of a drain on the AT&T network and they want to charge you for everything possible. If you could tether an iPhone to an iPad, why get a 3G iPad? Why pay an extra $129 for the 3G version and then $15/month for 250mb or $30 for unlimited when you could do it all through a tethered iPhone for free or whatever AT&T is going to charge which will be cheaper than any 3G iPad plan plus the extra $129 for the 3G version.
Is tethering new? Apple would like you to thing so, but in reality it's a technology that's been out for years. I've been tethering a blackberry for over 5 years now and I was able to do it on a BB 7290. T-Mobile doesn't charge any extra to tether and I've used it as cheap (slow) access to the internet while deployed to Iraq. The new Froyo (Ardoid 2.2 OS) has tethering built in and its probably only going to be available on the Nexus One more than likely. This phone is solely supported by Google and not restricted by carriers. Eventually tethering in Android will be allowed by carriers but I'm sure it will come at a cost. The Sprint HTC Evo 4G will have tethering for up to 8 devices but it will cost $30/month.
In summary, tethering has been out for 5 or 6 years to my knowledge but somehow in two weeks Apple will make all of its lemmings think its a technology that Steve Jobs himself invented a week ago.
Phones that have supported tethering before the iPhone:
Any Android 2.2 capable phone
Any Blackberry since 2004
Palm Pre plus and Pixi plus
And probably many more that I'm forgetting.
Steve Jobs, you're a pimp because you somehow managed to get millions of people to blindly follow your lead and take your word as if it came from God himself.