Earlier this week, we learned that iOS 4.3 would include the Personal Hotspot feature, which the Verizon iPhone 4 has been enjoying for almost a month now. An interesting new tidbit about the feature may have come to light today, though, which might hinder the usability of Personal Hotspot for some users. Earlier today, an AT&T document leaked to Engadget that claimed that Ma Bell's iPhone would only support up to three devices at once, leading many to assume that ATT was purposefully hindering the device's abilities. After doing a bit of digging, though, it was revealed that Apple's own site says that iOS 4.3 does support up to five devices with Personal Hotspot, but only three of those can be connected via WiFi. The other two connections must be made over Bluetooth or USB. Interestingly, that limitation is only named in certain countries (U.S., Canada, Japan) while others make no mention of it.
This news kind of came out of nowhere, and while I doubt it'll really bother most consumers, I'm sure that there are more than a few power users who are going to be disappointed when they're unable to connect a fourth and fifth device over WiFi. Of course, those same power users could always pick up a MiFi on AT&T if they really need to get five simultaneous WiFi connections going. Still, it's kind of a bummer to paying $45/month and only be able to connect three devices over WiFi.