Buried in all the hoo-ha about the release of the Verizon iPhone yesterday was a little-reported new feature.
When proud new owners start taking delivery of their shiny new CDMA handsets on February 10th, they will find nestled in the settings menu a feature which will allow the iPhone 4 to act as a personal wi-fi hotspot and which can connect up to five separate devices to the Internet using its cellular data connection.
According to anonymous sources who have tattled to BGR, it's not only Verizon customers who will be blessed with the added feature. Apparently, the forthcoming upgrade to iOS 4.3 will bring some personal hotspot action to "all iPhones".
As the article was written with an American audience in mind, it's not clear if "all iPhones" means those on AT&T and Verizon, or every model from the original 2G iteration onwards, or "all iPhones" anywhere in the world even those owned by us second-class citizens in Blighty and the rest of Europe, but we can only live in hope.
Of course, you'll need to be on an increasingly rare (or increasingly expensive, depending on the way you look at it) unlimited data plan to get any real use out of pushing your iPhone into doing modem duties, but the implications for people in rural areas with no broadband connection, but a decent 3G signal are obvious.