Report: Apple changing the way it delivers updates

Reports indicate that Apple is considering a major shift in the way it provides operating system updates for Mac OS X and iOS.

A report from 9 to 5 Mac cited several unnamed sources who said that Apple is prepping over-the-air updates after the initial release of iOS 5, ditching its current system of sending updates through iTunes. The report said Apple is talking to Verizon about pushing the updates to its customers, though the sources did not comment on whether AT&T and international carriers are in discussions about it.

The blog pointed out two things that have to change if Apple does employ this system: Updates will have to be smaller and Apple will need to find a way to back up devices, possibly through the cloud.

Meanwhile, a report from the blog Apple Insider citing “people familiar with the matter” have said Apple will distribute its next version of OS X, Lion, through the Mac App Store. The operating system is said to have deep integration with the app store.

One source said that Apple will also provide an optical disc for people with slower Internet connections or for those who want a physical disc.Pre-release builds have already provided hints that Lion will be available in the Mac App Store, the report said.

It’s been said that Apple is moving quickly toward digital-only distribution in its stores. The company has already eliminated the disc drive from the MacBook Air, providing customers with a thumb drive for OS updates.

Would you rather get your updates this way?

Related stories:

Apple releases update to iOS 4.3.3 that fixes location bug

Apple releases Mac OS X Lion developer kit

Report: Apple to eliminate boxed software?

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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