iOS 5: The delight of that first wireless sync.

iOS 5 is freshly installed on my iPhone 4, so now comes the part where it has to load up the 25GB+ of music and apps. Well, I happened to check on the network utilization while doing this initial sync and was pleasantly surprised to see this going on.

Even though the phone is physically tethered to the computer, it's sucking the music files off of the disk and blasting them out the WiFi. iTunes has a very steady network output of about 13MBps to the device. Now, I'm not sure why they don't just use the direct USB connection that happens to be available, but hey, it's working and the thing isn't a brick yet. 

What's even more interesting is that the phone is completely unlocked and usable while this is going on. Previously, during a sync you could not use the device since unlocking it would cancel the sync. Now it's just sitting there, ready to go, like nothing is happening. However, if I unplug it right now it stops the sync and iTunes gets upset. This makes sense, since wireless syncing only works when the device is plugged into a power source.

Next, apps started flowing back to the device. Annoyingly, they added some new apps, like Newstand, that pushed all my icons around. It also used WiFi for this, again ignoring the hard wired connection (I guess they were really serious about wireless syncing). Presumably it will do everything wirelessly from now on, which is interesting. There is a new icon, a rotating sync symbol just to the right of the WiFi icon on the device that shows when the device is syncing.

Playing around with it more, I noticed that it won't sync when I have it plugged into just a power brick and not directly into my computer. In Settings -> General -> iTunes Wi-Fi Sync  the option to sync is greyed out, and is only active when I plug directly into my computer. I restarted both the phone and iTunes to no avail.

Aside from that little glitch, everything looks good. Looking forward to the new notifications and the quick access to the camera, among other things. I say go download it if you haven't, it's fun.