As I think back to opening up my new iPad, two things stand out. First, the product packaging is delightfully minimal. It does not even contain media with the iTunes software, instead explaining that the first step is to download iTunes.
Second, a new iPad does not work at all until syncing it with a PC (Mac or Windows) via the included USB cable. I find this surprising because, in so many other ways, the iPad is a great device for someone who wants access to basic computing capabilities (web, email, casual games) without caring about the complexity of a PC. Yet such a user must already have a computer, with all its (potentially very-un-Apple) complexity, to use an iPad. The polished experience is potentially debased by being plugged in to a $200 closeout PC, just to get it running.
The need for iTunes seems quite justifiable in smaller Apple iDevices; but for the iPad, I can’t help but notice its specs are ample to be self-contained.
Even for those of us who will sync to a PC, why the cord? The iPad has WiFi and Bluetooth, as do most PCs nowadays. Plugging in that wire to sync seems utterly antiquated. Apple could could scrap that many-pinned proprietary port, and replace with a much simpler power plug, which would also free it from the pitiful rate of charge provided by USB. An iPad could have a MagSafe charger, and charge up more safely and in 1/2 the time.
Apple, cut that cord!