Until now to get simple software update, iPhone users had to go through the painful process of connecting their device to a computer and then to iTunes, with the possibility of a 600 MB+ download. This will soon come to an end as of the next major iOS update.
According multiple sources a new feature will allow over-the-air updates to iOS, similar to the system available in Google's Android or HP/Palm's webOS mobile operating system. With over-the-air (OTA) updates, users are notified on their device of an operating system update and, via simple actions, can download and then install the updates to their device without connecting to a computer.
This new feature is set to debut in iOS 5 when it is released this fall, meaning subsequent updates to iOS 5 will be OTA. Just like tethering in iOS 3, Apple has the technology but cannot just unleash it everywhere. Apple and Verizon Wireless are said to have been in talks over these wireless software updates since early this year. Sources couldn't comment on whether or not Apple is negotiating similar deals with AT&T or international iPhone carriers.
It's is also possible that this feature will be available to iPad and iPod Touch users if the feature is in iOS 5, which in the future will mean the end for iTunes-based updating of iOS devices.
Here's a mockup screen of the OTA feature: