Apple iPhones, which have to this point had to connect to a computer to have their software updated, are rumored to be receiving over-the-air updates with iOS 5, according to 9to5 Mac.
Google's Android phones are already able to download new updates without having to link to a computer, but Apple iPhones must still hook up to iTunes in order for new updates to be obtained.
Apple is reportedly in negotiations with Verizon to enable over-the-air updates in new phones this fall, when when iOS 5 is said to be debuting. It was not confirmed whether Apple was also trying to work out similar plans with AT&T or international carriers.
9to5Mac notes of the possible feature:
The iOS-based AppleTV has been able to update itself without iTunes intervention so the hooks are obviously in iOS. Two things to note:
Updates are now over 600MB. Apple would have to make these smaller to get the carriers to agree to push these things as they are. We believe that Apple will make the updates much smaller by using incremental patches rather than full OS downloads
iTunes provides the backup to the iOS device so a failed update would need some sort of backup. We think there will be a Cloud-based backup system.