Having spent a good part of our day yesterday negotiating with iTunes and downloading a whopping 666.2MB file to update our iPhone to version 4.3.3 — a version, we might add, whose sole claim to fame is the removal of things — we know well the pains of updating Apple’s mobile software. Those aches, however, may soon be coming to an end. 9to5Mac has multiple sources informing it that Apple and Verizon are scheming to start delivering iOS updates over the air from this fall, or just as soon as iOS 5 is made available. Untethered OS updates are a familiar feature to users of other smartphone operating systems and even the iOS-infused Apple TV, but getting Apple’s mobile devices up to date has so far always required going through the company’s own cable and software.
There’s no reason to believe this wireless update feature will be limited to Verizon, mind you — that’s just where the informants are coming from in this instance — though Apple will almost certainly have to alter the file sizes of its updates. We can’t think of many carriers who’ll be happy to push more than half a gigabyte of data per user per update. Additionally, since iTunes currently acts as the major backup hub, 9to5Mac speculates Cupertino must be working on a cloud backup service as well, which would seem a very sensible idea. Of course, that doesn’t paint a very happy or busy future for iTunes, but so what?