iOS 4 Game Center, Tethering and Digital Zoom [iOS 4 Tour Pt. 5]
How long have you been waiting for iPhone tethering? well, if you’re like me you’ve been waiting a long time. To be clear, iPhone tethering was possible (and an included feature) in iPhone OS 3.0 which launched last June (2009). So, don’t confuse this new feature as part of iOS 4, although I am including it in my iOS 4 Tour roundup because it is only now that AT&T has decided to enable the feature. That’s right, carriers the world over have been allowing their iPhone customers to tether their devices for the past year.
Along with the long awaited tethering feature here in the USA, AT&T also recently rolled out new data plans for iPhones and iPads. Gone are the days of unlimited data for $30.00 per month and in are the days of capped data. The new plans rolled out a few weeks ago include a very limited option (capped at 250MB) for $14.99 per month and a “higher” data limit option (capped at 2GB) for $24.99 per month. You may be asking why I’m telling you this – well, if you want to take advantage of iPhone tethering you must give up your unlimited data plan and opt for one of these limited plans. Once you do that, AT&T will still charge you for the privilege of tethering, another $20.00 per month on top of your data plan fees. So, if you are like most people, to tether will cost you $24.99 + $20.00 for a total of $45.00 per month. Even with this, you’re capped at 2GB per month. If you’re about to go over this AT&T will warn you and if you do go over you’ll be zinged $10.00 for each additional 1GB of data usage. [I've never jailbroken before, but MyWi is looking better and better...]
Unlike most gamers I don’t get into the whole social aspect of gaming so when Apple introduced this new addition in iOS 4 I wasn’t all that excited. Game Center is one of the unexpected new features of iOS 4 and is Apple’s entry into the social gaming scene. Game Center will allow gamers to share scores, unlock achievements, network with friends and invite friends to games. To use Game Center you will sign into the service using your iTunes account login. From here you can search and find friends and invite others to play against you (amongst other things). Seems a little odd to me that Apple would enter this scene and I’m sure all of those mobile social startups are not happy about it either. We’ll have to wait and see the effect that Apple’s own Game Center will have on other social gaming platforms such as Open Feint, Crystal, Plus+ and others. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any games that leverage the new Game Center so screen shots of this are well, pretty boring.
There’s so many camera apps in the App Store that have been offering this feature for a while now, so it just seems natural that Apple would include it in the native app. The addition of camera zoom could be argued as the missing camera feature since the iPhone first launched 3 years ago, but it’s here now. To get the zoom slider to show up you must tap the screen. This is a problem because tapping the screen also focuses and meters that spot. So, using the zoom slider is a little “touchy.”