Apple pushes iOS firmware updates via iTunes to its iOS devices. Users need to plug their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch in via USB, hit the Update button, and then the new iOS update is downloaded and flashed/installed. But this may change in iOS 5 which is rumored to bring OTA (Over-The-Air) iOS updates for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Most of the current smartphone competitors have long offered the painless over-the-air firmware/software updates. A new software update notification appears on the phone screen and user can install that update right on their phone. No computer needed.
9to5mac reports that Apple also wants to introduce over-the-air iOS updates convenience, starting this fall. As per their source, iOS 5 will bring OTA updates feature for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and then future iOS updates will be pushed OTA.
The iOS-based AppleTV has been able to update itself without iTunes intervention so the hooks are obviously in iOS. Two things to note:
- Updates are now over 600MB. Apple would have to make these smaller to get the carriers to agree to push these things as they are. We believe that Apple will make the updates much smaller by using incremental patches rather than full OS downloads
- iTunes provides the backup to the iOS device so a failed update would need some sort of backup. We think there will be a Cloud-based backup system.
Apple has promised to unveil iOS 5 at WWDC 2011. Just wait one more month to know if OTA iOS updates is one of the iOS 5 features.
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