There is an article that has been making the rounds on sites like Hacker News that has a very link-baity title: “If iPads are “post-pc devices” why must I sync with iTunes before I can use one?”. Fun.
Here is the main point of Paul Hontz’s argument (as I see it):
You can’t even turn your iPad on the first time without being tethered to iTunes.
Which is true, but paints an inaccurate picture. You see, you indeed can not turn on an iPad — for I don’t know what reason — without first connecting with iTunes, except that none of this means that you ever need to have iTunes on your home computer. If you walk into an Apple Store and buy an iPad you can have them do the initial sync to get your iPad up and going, thus you never have to have synced the iPad with your iTunes. I think Hontz’s argument is pretty silly, but let’s look at this new term more closely.
All of this depends on what your definition of “post-PC device” really is — Wikipedia (the aggregator of all that is relevant) doesn’t even have a page for this term just yet. I would define a post-PC device as a device that moves the user beyond the computer — a device that could/does replace a computer for the general consumer.
And the iPad is pretty damned close to that, if it is not already, the definition of the post-PC device.
Let’s take no further evidence than this video from April 22nd showing a 99 year-old woman using her first computer: the iPad. I don’t recall her having troubles with iTunes syncing. Sure you could say that we need an open platform, or that we need one that is completely detached from the computer — but if this is the argument that you hold, then you must also complain about the fact that 3G service must come through carriers that charge you and that to use WiFi means you need to setup a WiFi router.
Me? I just argue that a post-pc device is something that just works substantially better for most people than your typical PC/Mac would — and I think the iPad fits that bill rather nicely.