Saying how great the iPad is, is so…September 2010. We’re well past that. However a growing number of people I’ve run into (and know personally) have never plugged their iPads into a computer. WTF? That’s like buying a frigerator and never putting food in it.
Is iPad really supposed to be stand alone? The answer to that question is NO. Apple never designed this thing to be an island…it’s supposed to be a component of your “digital lifestyle” but to get the most out of it, the iPad needs to “phone home” every so often. Yes, you can get the iPad activated at the Apple Store and go on your merry way. But there are many, many reasons why the iPad needs to connect to your computer and iTunes–here are just 5.
Those of you familiar with iPhone (unless you’re the type that doesn’t plug in your iphone either) will know that every time you plug your phone into your computer iTunes makes a backup of it. Same goes for the iPad. This backup is super handy if and when something catastrophic happens to your ipad, or you simply need to restore it. Backing up saves all of your configurations, email, notes, applications, browser history. It’s basically a snap shot of your iPad at the moment you connect to your computer.
Obviously, backup is only 1/2 the equation. If you’ve NEVER plugged your iPad into your computer, then you have NO backup from which to restore. That means if you do have a problem or need to buy a new iPad, none of your apps, settings, notes, calendars or email will have been stored anywhere, so you’ll have just a blank iPad. In addition you’ll have to re-download and install ALL of your apps–one at a time. If you have a lot of apps, then this alone could take you hours. Not to mention still having to go back into iTunes to re-download all your purchased apps. You can avoid all this fun just my taking a few minutes to plug in.
3. Rearranging icons
Over time your iPad is going to accumulate a wide assortment of apps. Until we get iOS4 we won’t have folders. For now your icons are spread out across multiple pages. While it’s true you can move icons around on the iPad you’ll find that moving them around inside the iTunes application on your computer is MUCH easier. Have you tried dragging an icon from one page to another? It’s not that easy on the iPad. Connecting to iTunes gives you greater control and speeds up the process of icon organization. (of course if you’re looking to stave off alzheimer’s, then maybe an app placement randomizer is a good idea?)
4. Adding and Deleting Photos
So far I have not found a way to delete a photo directly from my iPad. In fact according to this post, you can’t–easily. As of this post date you have to use iTunes to manage (aka delete) your photos on the iPad. This means you have to PLUG IN! That’s right Jerky. Photos on the iPad are totally worth it too. The screen size makes the iPad the perfect way to share your latest trip with your friends. There are ways to get photos onto the iPad without a computer. One of my favorites is called Bump. When you’re on the road you can “bump” a photo over. Better still, you can get Apple’s $29 Camera Connection Kit that lets you download images straight from a SD card onto your iPad. But still, no way to delete the image once it’s on–without plugging the iPad into your computer.
5. Software Updates
iOS4 is soon to be released and with it comes host of features long enjoyed by iPhone 4 (and 3Gs users). Even if the above reasons 1 thru 4 don’t spring your ass off the couch to plug your iPad into a copy of iTunes on your computer, THIS reason should. Regular software updates to your iPad and iPhone are GOOD for your devices. They fix bugs, improve speed and wifi/bluetooth performance and improve the overall iOS experience. (Your iPad and iPhone are now considered IOS devices, btw). Once again, your iPad needs to dock with the mother ship every so often. Let it.
Look, you’ve made the leap to get your hands on a revolutionary device. But it’s not a static experience. The more you feed the iPad the more you get out of it. Keeping the iPad from connecting to a computer is like not letting ET get back on his ship–and we all know what almost happened to that poor little guy.