Some rumors have started to surface about the next major version of iOS – iOS 5. According to some reports, iOS 5 will have the ability to receive OTA updates. Currently, iOS users are forced to use iTunes in order to update their devices. A process which involves plugging their phones into the computer, running the program, waiting for the update to download, and then upgrading their phones. Competitors like Android have the ability to install updates over the air, and all the user needs to do is simply accept the notification to update their devices and they’re set – there’s no need for a computer.
It looks like Apple will be taking the same steps in iOS 5 as well. But some things need to be changed first – at the moment, iOS updates are over 600MB. Carriers have been getting rid of unlimited data plans which make upgrading a device over 3G or 4G a pretty expensive affair. Normally a file that large would be downloaded through WiFi, but not everybody has access to WiFi at all times. Either Apple will work out a deal with carriers to make the update downloadable for free, or Apple has to reduce the size of their updates.
A new backup system should also be in place – since users won’t be using their computers to update their devices anymore, a cloud-based backup system sounds like the right idea to make OTA updates viable. OTA updates would make the update process a lot more convenient for consumers and sounds like a step in the same direction that most companies are taking right now – towards a computer-free world.