This is definitely an improvement. iPods, iPads etc should not be dependent on having another Apple computer at home -- it ought to be possible to perform updates and downloads independently.
Upgrading iOS Over The Air
iOS is the name given to the operating system that runs on mobile devices from Apple like the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad. This unique operating system is designed to respond not to keyboard taps or a mouse like on a regular desktop or laptop, but to your own fingers tapping on the screen. Previous versions of iOS required you to connect your device to a computer via a USB cable in order to perform an update. With iOS version 5.0 and later, you can perform this update even if you’re nowhere near your computer. You don’t even need to be at home.
Connect your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad to a wall outlet using the included Apple wall adapter. This unit comes in two parts – a USB cable and a white, square-shaped adapter. Plug your USB cable into the adapter and plug the adapter into the wall.
Plug your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad into the USB cable. Due to the sensitive nature of an operating system upgrade, you will not be able to download the necessary files on battery power. You need to be plugged into the adapter to perform the upgrade.
Slide your finger across your iOS device to reveal the main screen of icons. Tap on the “Settings” icon one time.
Tap the “General” option from the left side of the screen. This will reveal an additional list of options on the right side of your device’s screen. From this list, tap one time on the “Software Update” option.
Wait a few moments while your iOS device checks for an available update. If no update files are available and you have the most recent version of the operating system, you will be notified of this on screen. If updates are available, a new box labeled “Software Update” will appear.
Tap the “Install” button. Your device will begin the process of downloading and installing the necessary files to perform the operating system update. You will be unable to use your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad for any purpose for the duration of this process. With the upgrade is complete, your device will reboot and load back to the main screen.