People who use Apple products know that in order to update their devices to the latest firmware version, they need to have access to a computer with iTunes software and the device needs to be physically connected to the computer, but the rest of the process is a breeze as iTunes automatically detects and notifies about the latest updates and allows to install it. While in all fairness this is no complicated process, users have yearned for the functionality to download such updates over the air similar to the way that Google has for the Android platform users. Apple is set to provide the very same the upcoming iOS 5.
With the availability of over the air updates, users would receive firmware update notifications via their carriers and would be able to download them without the need of a computer. Apple is reportedly in talks and smoothing out he details with carriers such as Verizon to bring this functionality to the users with the release of their upcoming iOS version 5. According to 9to5mac:
Apple and Verizon Wireless are said to have been in talks over these wireless software updates since early this year. Sources could not comment on whether or not Apple is negotiating similar deals with AT&T or international iPhone carriers.
Technology is no limiting factor for this particular functionality as it is proved by the fact that the Apple TV requires no connection to update it’s firmware and is fully capable to do it over the air.
The challenge is the size of these updates as they are usually upwards of 600 megabytes which is a lot and carriers usually have expensive data plans, so Apple would have to find a way to make them smaller. Another factor that Apple needs to consider is a backup option similar to iTunes in case of an update error and the user needs to revert back to a previous version. This in our opinion could be possible via Apple’s rumored iCloud service.
We will know for sure when Apple comes out with iOS 5 developer preview expected at WWDC 2011. Stay tuned for more.