We've had some fun over the weekend playing with this new iPad doo-hickey, but as we return to the business week, we've stumbled across something kind of annoying.
Our colleagues from Singapore touched base with us overnight to see whether we could enable the Personal Hotspot feature that the new iPad is supposed to support with iOS 5.1. They found that the iPad test unit they were using in Singapore wasn't displaying this option in the system settings, regardless of what local 3G network they were connected to.
And sure enough, after we stopped playing games and watching videos, we found the feature missing here in Australia, too. We tried switching SIM cards between Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, but we still can't find the option to create a Wi-Fi hotspot with the iPad's 3G data.
The decision to omit the feature at this time appears to be with Apple. Telco spokespeople we asked said that their networks are happy to support the feature when it's made available. Apple has no yet responded to a request for comment.
The Personal Hotspot feature is supposed to be part of the iOS 5.1 firmware release for the new iPad. Apple clearly details what it is and how to use it on page 123 of the new iPad user manual (PDF). However, it does also use the phrase:
Share an Internet connection: Go to Settings > General > Network and tap Set Up Personal Hotspot — if it appears — to set up the service with your carrier.
If we could hazard a guess, we'd say that in its enormous effort to push 3 million iPads out across the world in such a short space of time, Apple has installed a single, telco-safe version of the iOS 5.1 firmware — one that won't conflict with the prudish opinion of 3G network sharing that some of the US telcos force on their customers. Fingers crossed that Apple restores this feature as soon as it has a moment to catch its breath.
What do you think? Is this a feature you use a lot with your iPad? Have you found a way to restore Personal Hotspot in the settings? Let us know in the comments below.