Looking at everything I know about the iPad, there’s a piece missing from the puzzle: will iPad require a computer host to work to the full extent? Is it Apple’s vision that a host will be required in the future?
I’m fairly sure Apple is working hard already the break iPad free from the USB syncing. After all, as long a you need a computer in addition to an iPad, it’s just an accessory to a computer, and not a computing device in it’s own right. iPhone is an amazing device, but downright crippled unless you plug the USB onto your computer (of which you can only use one at a time as the lord and master of the phone) pretty often.
About a year ago, I saw a video (from the CEO of Finnish Microsoft, no less) that depicted Microsoft’s vision of where they want to be with data synchronization. The video depicted a building site where a happy construction manager managed the project on a tablet device. The dude then went on to have the tablet accidentally crushed by a bulldozer, but, no worry! He just borrowed another tablet, signed in with his Live account and lo and behold, his desktop appeared as it was, with all data intact.
I think that’s where Apple would like to be with iPad.
No going home to synchronize the device with your computer after purchase.
The way it should work is, you walk into the Apple Store, pick up your iPad, sign in with your Apple ID, and start listening to your music collection. Or editing your iWork documents and checking your email. It’s that simple.
If there’s a reason Apple bought Lala, or invest a billion bucks in a data warehouse in N.C., I think that’s the reason.
And I hope it is, since that’s the only way they can make iPad the mom and pap computer people are touting all over the web. I have a couple relatives I wouldn’t mind switch over to use the iPad, but if they need to maintain a computer in addition to the pad, that’s a lost cause. Cupertino, I hope you agree.