The days of cumbersome and lengthy iOS updates via the standard USB-to-computer iTunes connection may be coming to an end, possibly before the end of the year. The blogosphere is buzzing this morning with speculation born of new revelations from "sources" speaking in confidence to our friends at 9 to 5 Mac. According to information they possess, Apple is planning to deliver iOS updates over the air beginning this fall.
The next major iOS upgrade - and it will be a hefty one - should propel the iDevice universe into iOS 5-land. Once iOS 5 is made available, subsequent software updates may be delivered to the iPhone over the air.
In this regard, however, Apple isn't ahead of the curve, it's actually playing catch-up. Given that a number of rival smartphones already offer over-the-air operating system updates, Apple will simply be striving to better compete with other handsets and technologies that, at present, are superior to Apple's iOS in some regards.
Obviously, if this is a feature in iOS 5, it should conceivably make its way to iPad and iPod touches as well. That means iTunes may no longer be a needed conduit for updating iOS devices in the future. It would also mean that the iPad could finally be a stand alone device.