UPDATE [Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 1:33pm ET]: The team behind the iTether app published a blog post offering their side of the story. We’ve included the entire post after the break because their servers were being battered at the time of this update.
It was fun while it lasted, but iTether is gone from the App Store now. Unfortunately, looks like the combined effects of the hype and excitement, possibly coupled with iTether’s workaround of some of the App Store restrictions, may have provoked Apple enough to pull them from the store. Yesterday’s arrival of iTether yesterday surprised Apple fans, chiefly power users who berated Apple on their strict rules and previous removals of tethering programs such as Netshare.
Even better, approvals such as this one make us wonder how such apps ever make it into the App Store in the first place. Of course, Internet connection sharing works in most places outside the United States so the program was mainly of interest to our U.S. readers looking to use their iPhone’s cellular data on their computers without paying additional carrier fees.
The Tether.com web site was down at press time. Canada-based developers yesterday wrote on Twitter that Apple took no issue with the program. “We were very clear with Apple what our app did. They asked us a bunch of questions and then approved us”, the team wrote. The original iTunes link no longer works so you’ll have to look elsewhere. If history is an indication, it won’t be long before iTether hits the Cydia store. Did you manage to download a copy yourself? Hit us in comments.
Developers posted a statement on their blog, included right below the fold. We’ve also received a tip that it is still possible to download iTether through Installous on a jailbroken iPhone.
Around 12PM EST, Apple called our head office to let us know they were going to go ahead and pull our app iTether from the App Store. They stated it was because the app itself burdens the carrier network, however they offered us no way to remedy the solution… We were very clear when listing the app what the primary function was and they even followed up with several questions and requested a video demo then they approved the application.
We strongly disagree that it burdens a carrier’s network, as from our own data history on more than 500,000 users we know the average user consumes less than 200 MBs of data per month on Tether. In comparison, one TV show streamed from Netflix, an approved Apple App, could easily be in the 300-400 MBs range. Sure, there are some users that will consume way more than the average however that’s the case with any of these types of products.
Our team is very disappointed in Apple’s decision; as we strongly believe we help carriers better monetize their data stream by pushing customers into new data tiers further increasing their bottom-line. It is very anti-competitive to not allow any Tethering application to enter into this space to innovate. Our team has created a lot of innovative solutions for the BlackBerry product, which we were hoping to port over to the iPhone like end-to-end encryption, compression, website filtering and port filtering.
According to Apple, users who purchase iTether before it was pulled will continue to be able to use the product.
Our team is evaluating all of our options… Stay tuned.