Apple is reportedly working with Verizon to provide over-the-air updates to the network's CDMA-based iPhone 4 starting this fall. Following in Android's footsteps, this new method will eliminate the current update bottleneck which forces users to manually upgrade to the next iOS build by connecting the devices to iTunes via a Mac or PC-based USB port.
According to unnamed sources, the new feature will be available in iOS 5, meaning the over-the-air updates will begin once Verizon iPhone 4 owners download and install the new update through the traditional USB method. What's not clear is how Apple will push the iOS upgrades to users given that previous OS releases have typically been over 600 MB in size.
That said, it's speculated that Apple may switch to smaller, incremental patches rather than release full OS downloads. If that's the case, Apple will likely make updates smaller for all iOS devices to simplify the overal distribution process. The company will probably still offer manual installation through iTunes, serving as a backup installation method in case the over-the-air update fails.
Thursday the unnamed sources also indicated that Verizon and Apple have been working together on the feature since early this year, but there's no evidence that Apple is conducting the same negotiations with the original iPhone carrier, AT&T, or other international carriers. More info regarding iOS 5 and the over-the-air updates is expected to be revealed at WWDC 2011 next month.