iTether, an iOS app that debuted in the App Store last night as pointed out by our sister site, MacRumors, let users tether a computer to an iPhone via USB to access the internet using the iPhone’s cellular data connection. The app was priced at $14.99 and required a free companion application on a Mac or PC to work. The app funneled all internet traffic through the company’s own servers, which overloaded last night and this morning as a result of the immediate popularity of the app.
Tether.com, the Canadian company behind iTether, had commented via Twitter that Apple was aware of the app’s purpose and approved the app after asking some additional questions.
iTether is not the first tethering app to make it to the App Store. Nullriver Software’s NetShare was the first tethering app that appeared in the App Store in 2008 though it was available for only a brief time. Nick Lee’s Handy Light, an app that appeared to be a flashlight but featured a hidden tethering feature, hit the App Store last year and remained available for only a few hours before Apple removed it from the App Store.
Unfortunately, it seems that iTether is sharing the same fate as NetShare and Handy Light since it is no longer available in the App Store at the time of this post, though it had a good run while it lasted, hitting the Top Grossing spot in the App Store in less than 12 hours. If you missed getting iTether and want to tether your computer to your iPhone, you’ll need to pony up at least $20 per month to AT&T and Verizon for 2GB of tethered data or $29.99 to Sprint for 5GB of tethered data. Or you can jailbreak your iPhone to enable tethering using an app available through Cydia, like TetherMe or MyWi, though AT&T has been cracking down on unofficial tethering enabled by these methods, moving subscribers involuntarily to official tethered plans in some cases.
UPDATE: Tether.com has posted an official statement about the removal of iTether from the App Store, noting that Apple stated that the app “burdens the carrier network.” Unfortunately, Apple apparently did not offer any solutions that could allow iTether to return to the App Store though Tether states that they are evaluating options to see what can be done. All those who managed to purchase iTether before it was yanked can still use the app.