Early Monday morning just hours before WWDC, it was reported that on Sunday an iTunes page on the web had documentation hinting at a new feature that the next version iOS will have: auto updates. Now while the specific documentation (which Apple has since removed) seemingly introduces the thought of automatic updating of apps, there’s may be more to this than what was just leaked by that iTunes page. A few months ago there was talk of Apple working on a way of letting iOS on the iPhone [and likely iPad] update over the air, as opposed to strictly updating iOS via ITunes.
As all iOS users know, that usually means downloading a several hundred megabyte file into iTunes and then allowing iTunes to update the device which can become very time consuming and overall impractical since Apple has a tendency to release iOS revisions more frequently these days. However, if Apple were to introduce a more intuitive way of updating iOS by way of smaller updates that don’t require a complete ‘rip and rebuild’ of the entire OS, automatic updates of not only apps, but of iOS may become possible. Hopefully later today we’ll see Apple announce that in iOS 5 apps can quietly and automatically update themselves in the background.
Apple has indeed confirmed automatic updates into iOS. While most of the iCloud related features announced at WWDC today won’t be available until this Fall when iOS 5 is officially released, Apple has unleashed this particular feature on iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads today. Going into Settings in iOS, and then to the Store settings allows you to toggle automatic updating of music downloads from iTunes, Apps from the App Store, and books from iBooks. All of this functionality is based on Apple ID’s. There is also a toggle switch to allow for auto updates to take place over a cellular connection when no WiFi is available.