The latest incarnation of Apple’s iOS platform is intended to be about integration with an Apple-based iCloud cloud-based computing environment. This is alongside the dream that Steve Jobs has about less reliance on the desktop computing environment. But there is an advantage that will benefit users of any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch whether they just use their device alongside a regular computer or independently.
This advantage is about “over-the-air” software updating for the operating environment. Some mobile phone platforms, such as a few Android installations, were able to be updated without the need to tether the phone to the computer. As well, iOS users could keep their device’s app collection up to date independently of the computer, a practice similar to adding an app to these devices. Now this will be implemented across the iOS platform so you don’t need to connect up that iPhone or iPad to your computer and fire up iTunes whenever Apple revises the platform.
One benefit that I would see out of this is if one’s computer is down for any reason, they can still update the iOS device. Also you don’t need to know where that white USB lead that connects your iPhone to your PC is.
Similarly, the update experience is more reliable for most Mac or PC users. This is because there is less risk of the device being “bricked” (put out of action) due to reasons like a software crash or hang; a slow computer or the USB cable coming out of the device’s Dock connector.
There may be disadvantages with this setup, especially for devices that are primarily operated on a wireless-broadband network. This is where the update may become a significant cost due to the data allowance on most low-end wireless-broadband plans. This may not be of concern for those of us who use the iPhone with Wi-Fi networks associated with most home or business wireline broadband services.
A good question with this update that may concern owners of existing iOS devices is whether the device needs to be prepared for “over-the-air” updating or not. This may be dependent on what version of the iOS system you are running. Here, the device could be enabled through an operating-system update or the installation of an “enabler” app from the iTunes App Store.
It will be interesting to then see whether all the iPhone and iPad users will find it easier to keep these ubiquitous mobile computing devices up to data.