My initial reaction was "cool, can't wait to try that out". Configuring it was dead simple. My two kids (age 9 and 11) were able to connect their iPod Touches the first time without any assistance. But what surprised me was the number of different situations in which I used Personal Hotspot and their frequency. A few samples include:
- sales demos and consulting engagements with my laptop and/or iPad at customer sites where Wi-Fi and LAN access was not permitted for visitors
- an unplanned week long Internet outage at my home caused by renovations
- airport lounges where only expensive Wi-Fi was available
- a surprising number of places that did not have Internet access when time critical workflow approvals (expenses, invoices, travel etc) had to be executed from my laptop
- situations where secure Wi-Fi was available, but I could not successfully connect on my Windows XP 64 bit laptop (don't get me started on some of the issues with 64 bit XP)
- a 3G USB stick for my laptop
- going with the 3G option for an iPad 2
- a Boingo Wireless unlimited plan
To say that Personal Hotspot is a good app would be a deceptive understatement. A more useful description would be that it is a transformative app. What is the difference?
A good app is a better mousetrap. A transformative app is a brand new weapon that extends capability, increases productivity and eliminates the need for other technical solutions to solve problems. Good apps improve the way we do things, transformative apps improve our lives. While it is nice to add good apps into our toolkit, it is critical that we incorporate transformative apps to accomplish our stretch goals.
Of course Android has had Wi-Fi hotspot capability long before iOS 4.3 shipped. Unfortunately I don't have an Android phone. Well, not yet anyways :-)