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Apple untethers iOS5 with over the air updates

The latest beta release of Apple's mobile operating system is the first to have over the air (OTA) updates enabled.

Apple has been roundly criticised in the past for insisting that iDevice users hook their gadgets up to an iTunes-enabled PC in order to upgrade its OS, but iOS 5.0 beta 4 appears to have addressed the issue.

From September, when the public release of iOS5 is expected, users will be able to experience OTA updates in the same way as enjoyed by owners of handsets powered by Google's Android operating system.

And with other syncing duties carried out by Apple's incoming iCloud service it's just a matter of time before iPhone's, iPads and iPod Touch media players find themselves permanently untethered from the much maligned iTunes ecosystem.

We're pretty sure Apple will do everything in its power to make sure iTunes remains a part of the company's walled garden approach to its gadgets, but OTA updates are definitely a step in the right direction.

iDevice users are broadly split in their opinion of iTunes along the lines of Mac users - who think it's a necessary evil - and Windows users - who think it's just plain evil.

We're reliably informed that the delta updates - which only replace the new portion of the code rather than the entire OS with each upgrade - will work over 3G mobile networks as well as Wi-Fi.