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Why the iPad Can’t Function as a Standalone Computer

Posted on 22 May 2010 By Ben Lang

There’s been quite a bit of debate, since the release of the iPad, over whether or not the iPad can function as a full computer replacement. I don’t believe that anyone can seriously say that the iPad could work as a full computer replacement for anyone who would consider themselves a mobile professional — there are simply too many things that the iPad either doesn’t do, or doesn’t do well enough for that. There has been, however, some reasonably logical arguments asserting that the iPad could replace a computer for those who don’t need more functionality than that provided by a netbook.

Despite the number of ways that this point could be argued — varying usage scenarios, external media support (or lack there of), apps filling/not filling needs, etc. — there is one inexplicable fact that can’t be argued around: An x86 computer (be it OSX or Windows based) is required to set up the iPad.

As simple as the iPad may be to use, someone can’t walk into an Apple store, walk out with an iPad, power it on, and just “go”. The iPad has to be plugged into a computer with an appropriate version of iTunes installed and synced first in order to function.

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