While the new features found in the iOS 5.1 update were fairly minimal, one that snuck under the radar was an increase to the maximum download file size over 3G/4G networks. The new version of iOS allows downloads of up to 50 MBs to be conducted over cellular networks, a fairly sizable increase from the previous 20MB limit.
Accounting for the increase is Apple’s new iPad, which is slated to launch on Friday. The new iPad features an HD Retina display, which will drive application file sizes up as developers build more intensive programs to support the new display and the Retina graphics the devices are capable of providing. Users of the AT&T, Verizon, and upcoming Sprint variants of the iPad will now be able to download a wider variety of applications and games without the need to be connected to a WiFi network.
The limit increase also applies to music and movies purchased through the iTunes store, though you’ll be hard-pressed to find many movies or TV shows that fall below the 50 MB mark. Still, being able to download entire albums and a wider array of applications is certainly a welcome update for iOS 5.1 users. All devices running iOS 5.1 will benefit from the 50MB update, including the iPod Touch and iPhones as well as old and new iPads alike.