Apple is reported to be considering switching to smaller OS updates, delivered over-the-air for its next generation iPhone 5 instead of the current, sometimes lengthy OS update delivered via a USB cable and iTunes.
Citing multiple sources, the Apple watching website 9to5mac said that Apple is in talks with the mobile networks to deploy such a facility for its next smartphone. Although incremental updates are individually smaller than Apple's usual large deployments, they collectively add up to a large amount of data and the networks need to be consulted before each update is sent out.
Using networks to deploy updates can also lead to staggered deployments where some customers are able to gain the new OS quicker than others if the networks need to defer the upgrades due to capacity constraints.
Although some OTA updates software providers claim to be able to update a smartphone OS without impacting on the handset content, it would be expected that Apple will deploy its long-expected cloud based back-up service before offering OTA updates to the OS.
Typically, it can be expected that the cloud-based OTA would be charged for as a premium service, with the iTunes based service remaining as free.