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Apple may give iPhone overdue over-the-air updates in iOS 5

updated 07:35 am EDT, Thu May 5, 2011

Apple in talks for iOS 5 OTA updates

Apple may give iOS some of its first real computer independence with iOS 5 after rumors late Wednesday of over-the-air update plans. While every user would still need to get iOS 5 through iTunes at first, at least iPhone owners would have the option of getting subsequent updates directly from the device. It's presumed by 9to5 that upgrades would also finally be incremental rather than requiring users download the entire firmware every time.

The update wouldn't necessarily get automatic approval from carriers, contacts said. Talks have reportedly been underway with Verizon, and presumably other carriers, to allow the updates to roll out over 3G. It wasn't clear how discussions were progressing, though Apple has until as late as September to make a deal if rumors of the iPhone 5 and iOS 5 launch schedules are true.

Questions remain unanswered as to backups. Apple would presumably keep iTunes backups in place, but whether or not it would use the iCloud service isn't as clear. Even when discounting media, however, firmware and apps can consume gigabytes and could put a heavy strain both on the device and on bandwidth.

The feature would still represent a long requested addition to iOS. Virtually every other smartphone platform, including Android, BlackBerry, webOS, and Windows Phone, lets users update directly from the device. Apple when introducing the iPad 2 referred to it as a post-PC device but, without OTA update delivery, has been inherently tied to a computer in a way that Android isn't. Direct updates and potentially backups could let users own an Apple handheld without ever having to connect to a PC.

By Electronista Staff


    Comment buried. Show
  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: May 2011


    Feature set

    Welcome to 2007!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. J2-Droid

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2011


    What's Next!

    Is it going to be actual multitasking or widgets or dare I say iOS becomes OPEN! Oh Apple you are sooooo ahead of the game.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007


    What, no teleportation????? :-)

    Not sure, but the other 2 replys seem to dislike the iPhone. Maybe they would prefer a smart phone,,,, pre,,,, iPhone. Remember those???

    Hey, I am totally happy with mine. Its my computer on the go. Nuff said.

    Just a thought,

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999



    If all the other smartphones have OTA updates, why is Apple doing the same thing an issue for carriers?

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    It's nice to see

    Apple letting go of it's reliance on syncing and upgrading with iTunes. For those of us that use Linux, the iPhone/Pad/Pod is not an option.

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