Currently the only way to update an iPhone (and other iDevices, for that matter) is to plug the phone into your computer to download and install the update via iTunes. Having never owning an iDevice, I don’t know if this method is an inconvenience for the user or not. All of the other major smartphone players generally provide their updates in the form of over-the-air (OTA) updates. Users are prompted with an update notification and can update the software right on their phone, no computer needed.
Recent reports are saying that Apple plans to add OTA update functionality to their upcoming iOS 5, at least for their Verizon phones. Apparently Apple and Verizon have been in talks over implementing the OTA functionality since early this year. It is not known whether it will be available for other carriers, at least initially.
If they are really going to do this one thing is for sure, they have to change the way their updates work. Currently iTunes downloads a 600MB+ update file that basically replaces the whole OS with the new version. iTunes backs up all of the user data to their computer, installs the update and restores their data. The first issue here is that 600MB is a lot to download OTA, especially for non-4G devices. So Apple will have to make the updates smaller, possibly providing incremental patches rather than updating the entire OS every single time. The second issue is that there would obviously be no computer involved to back up user data. So they would have to implement some other method of backing up the data, possibly a cloud-based solution…
iPhone users, would this be a welcomed change? Is updating your phone via iTunes a pain or do you not mind?
About the Author (Author Profile)
Co-owner and PR guy for GizmoNinja.com. I’m happily married and a father to a wonderful (most of the time) son. I work in the E9-1-1 software/data industry by day and am a tech loving geek in my spare time. I’m interested in all things tech, but am big into Android especially. I dabble in a little of everything – Android development, PC development, web development, etc – but am a master of none (not even close)… But I have fun doing it anyway! =P