One of the least reported features of the latest major verison of the Apple iOS was not just Over the air updates – meaning you don’t need to plug into iTunes any more, but in fact the Delta updates.

What is a Delta update? It’s an incremental update – so, instead of iTunes having to download a 400megabyte file and install the whole operating system, iOS 5 allows for just the newest part of the operating system to be downloaded to the phone and installed.

Click continue reading for more information and screenshots.

So, what does this mean?  Well this morning Apple released iOS 5.0.1 to address the recent reported battery issues with the latest software.  Instead of having to wait at home before work to update, and possibly wait hours – I got to work, and while my PC was logging in, went to my iPhone, clicked Settings >> General >> Software Update.

The phone checked the server, reported back that an update was available and bingo, off we went.

The download was a mere 55mb – over WiFi only of course, and the process was smooth and simple.

Let’s consider what a quantam leap this is.  I bet there are many many people who have rarely if ever updated their phone.  There are loads who never sync with their PC – this makes it so easy, and if Apple sets up some sort of push notification service for it – the process will be mindless!

Next, let’s consider the whinging and complaining that goes on between tech boffins (and journalists alike) about the slow pace of upgrades to Android.  This is where iOS and Apple have the strength.  By controlling device and software they can almost guarantee the update – on Android, there are far too many devices to be that sure.

So – time to click those settings and get your quick, over the air update.  Mine downloaded quite fast, and once verfied, the installation and reboot has taken place in the time it took me to write these few words!

Go forth and update.