Discussion about
pika2000

April 1st 2010 6:48 am

Is iTunes required?

Can one use the iPad right away out of the box? Does the iPad need to be activated by connecting it to iTunes first, just like iPhone/iPod Touch? I mean the point of the iPad is supposed to be a "less complicated computer." I mean I see people wanting to buy this for their parents/grandparents. Well, if it requires a connectivity with an existing PC/Mac with iTunes, doesn't that defeat the whole point of the iPad? I have a feeling that the need to be tethered to a desktop/iTunes will be the Achilles heel.

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49 replies
tnewt

Since this is the top search result for this subject in Google, I need to reply.

I got the iPad for my elderly mother who does not know how nor want to learn how to use a computer. But she wants to use an iPad. It represents everything Steve Jobs talked about from when he first worked on the original Mac--the idea of the computer being an appliance.

BUT

You cannot use it without a computer!

I just powered on the device that I just purchased. All it shows on the screen is a USB cable connecting to iTunes. THAT'S IT. Nothing else, nada!

You can't do ANYTHING with it. I have a Linux computer, so no iTunes, so I can't even set it up for her.

I'm supposed to drive four hours tomorrow to deliver it. Here it is Mom! Sorry you can't do anything with this piece of brick!

Repeat, without iTunes, the iPad is a brick.

Actually, at least you can do something with a brick. I can't do anything with this except hit myself on the head with it:
www.youtube.com­/watch­?v­=x7wc55oXWf8
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tnewt

A followup....

I drove (an hour out of my way) to the Apple store to get the device activated.

I talked them out of having me wait three hours until a 'slot' opened up with the Apple Genius (since it apparently only takes 3 seconds to activate).

The the Genius started giving me the Apple Company Official Policy Statement:
"The iPad is not meant to be operated standalone. It requires a computer with iTunes...blah, blah, blah"
He wasn't giving me a moment to respond, so I just interrupted him:
"In that case I want my money back."
"blah, blah, blah,....WHAT?"
"This is for my elderly Mom, who doesn't have, nor does she want a computer."
"But you can't back up the device with out a computer, or update the operating system...blah, blah, blah..."
I had to interrupt him again.
"In that case I want my money back. If it can't be used without a computer, then this device is useless to me and my Mom."
I handed it to him and pulled out my receipt.

Less sure of himself, he mumbled "Um, ah, how is she planning on using it?"
Me: "She just wants to get email and browse the web."
'Genius': "What if she wants to back up her data?"
Me: "What data? I told you, she just wants to get email and browse the web."
'Genius': "Well...I guess if that's all she's going to do she could use it without a computer."
Me: "Good. Can you activate it now?"

He activated it and started to give me a lecture again (probably out of habit), then stopped himself.

My 76yr old Mom is now happily browsing the web for the first time in her life. You go Mom!
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tnewt

Another followup. I just received a card from my Mom (not an e-mail--she just loves sending cards).

"This fantastic, magical I Pad has taken over my life....So far, I have looked at the TV Guide, watched a movie (how great), listened to music....The entire world is changing, all thanks to you---That is not too surprising to me. I love you, Mom"
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snavelykl

I do not know whether or not iTunes is a necessity, but I do see what you are getting at. But fortunately this is not a standalone device. I have had countless people come up to me and explain to me how they are going to try and use their iPad. "Yeah it has a usb port to connect to a printer!" No I'm sorry the iPad is not going to replace anything in your life besides friends and other tablet device.
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majipoor

You would be somewhat right if you weren't wrong first.

iTunes is not required for the iPad as it is not required for the iPod touch or even the iPhone (my iPhone has been activated in the shop not at home).

But without iTunes, you cannot synchronize your iDevice with your computer and thus you cannot backup it as well obviously.

I guess that parents could ask their children once in a while to synchronize/backup their iPad and install new OS.
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brett

Actually when you turn on an iPod Touch for the first time it says Connect to iTunes. It's not like the iPhone where you activate it in the store. Using an iPhone without touching iTunes isn't too bad but for something like the iPod Touch or the iPad, I feel like iTunes will be a pretty integral part of it, at least at the beginning.
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pika2000

"I guess that parents could ask their children once in a while to synchronize/backup their iPad and install new OS. "
The fact that you suggested that is what I'm afraid of. The lay people will expect this to act like an appliance. Imo Apple could've done more. For example, they could enable .Mac, I mean MobileMe to be built-in on the iPad and do wireless backup over the cloud.
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majipoor

Steve Jobs described it as an appliance which fits a gap between a phone and a desktop computer: the iPad is not going to replace desktop computers any time soon.

Two month ago, most people were thinking that the iPad would never be a "netbook killer". Today's first reviews already mention it as a potential "laptop killer"... any you would expect it to be a "desktop killer" as well? You may put too much expectation here.

Yes, you most probably still need a computer, a phone AND an iPad.

Concerning the cloud, this is a fine idea, but most would complain that you have to pay the MobileMe fee to use this feature! And I don't think it is realistic to backup millions of iPhones/iPad/iPod Touch over the cloud yet.
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coologuy1957

if its an apple product, iTunes is required...
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Neel

This is probably my single greatest turn-off from apple devices. iTunes is basically the junkiest, most bloated p.o.s. software to be majorly adopted in the last decade.
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coologuy1957

no lie... its been needing a good streamlining for a while now...
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Gogo

You don't require iTunes to use Apple TV, or the iPod, or the MacBook, or the iMac... I would suspect that you don't really need iTunes "to use" the iPad, but you do need it for software updates or if you want to perform backups.
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coologuy1957

actually iTunes is the only way to put anything on an iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, iPhone, and soon to be iPad....


synching music, movies/shows, pics, calendar, contacts, (soon books) - all only through iTunes....
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Chasingcolor

There was an overstatement with stating all apple product require Itunes.

This is not correct. For example, an iphone will work without itunes. Today, I helped a friend setup itunes and he has had an iphone for months. He would have been perfectly happy without itunes but thought he might need it.

Basically there was an overstatement suggesting a REQUIREMENT of itunes for ALL apple products. Now, there is backpedaling from the original overstatement.

I would assume the Ipad could indeed function without itunes just as the Iphone could function without itunes. Thus itunes is not a requirement. However a person would receive benefits from having itunes and the ability to sync.
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pika2000

Well, that's my question. Does the iPad usable out of the box? If it requires to be "activated" first, than it does require iTunes. The only alternative is to have the Genius at an Apple store activates it for you before you walk out. I mean the attraction of the iPad imo is that the possibility of it being the "computer" for the lay people, people that don't necessarily have a computer, or have a computer with iTunes. I mean the lay/normal people would expect this to be an appliance.
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a1by

Actually you need an iTunes if you ever wipe your device, the only way to activate it to use even as a phone would be iTunes. Could you walk into a store to activate it? Sure, but then they're doing the iTunes connection for you.
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Gogo

You can download everything directly onto the iPhone w/o ever using iTunes with the exception of activation. There are also plenty of third party programs that would allow you to sync media onto iPod w/o using iTunes.

Since the iPad does not require activation, I would assume that it does not require iTunes.
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peter

I've been totally spoiled by Android, not ever needing to sync with a PC for contacts, email, apps, etc has been really great.
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brett

Agreed. And if you have to sync media, DoubleTwist isn't a bad solution at all. Seems to be a lot less bloated than iTunes because it's a more focused product.
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happyschneider

I do that wirelessly too. No need to connect anymore... it's such a free live with Android.
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ai4281

Amen. I ditched my iPod Touch for my Droid. Combination of DropBox (Droidbox in the market) for transferring music and Google Listen for syncing podcasts is so much more convenient than connecting to my Mac and syncing. Syncing takes way too long on iTunes...
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Chasingcolor

I prefer the ability to sync because of some benefits. For example, I prefer the ability to organize my apps on my Mac and then sync to the iphone. I can have and organize many many apps but only display a few on my phone.

I am spoiled that way....
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happyschneider

Brainapps for android. You can do it on any computer with a browser, your phone doesnt ever need to see that computer.
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pika2000

I guess my question is, when you open up the iPad fresh from the box, is it ready to use (other than the need to charge it)? I'm guessing not, that it needs to be connected to iTunes first. This, in addition to the requirement of iTunes to put in media, kinda goes the opposite way of what the iPad was imo envisioned to be, the "computer" for the lay people. I mean the way the iPad works seems fitting for non-technical people, yet it requires an existing PC/Mac+iTunes just to activate it. The least Apple should do is at least allow the iPad to sync/activate wirelessly via wifi or something. I mean I don't know. You have this nice tablet computer device, yet you still have to plug it to an existing desktop PC/Mac. That makes the iPad more like just another toy accessory for your existing computing solution.
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coologuy1957

the ipad or any of these apple media devices is an accessory that needs a PC/Mac to function... you could use their standalone web surfing capabilities by themselves as well as apps, but to sync content, you must use iTunes...
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Chasingcolor

Though I don't have one in my hand.....I wager an Ipad could indeed stand alone just as the iphone can stand alone.

The user simply would not sync to another device....thus the term, "Stand alone."
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This post has been removed.

pika2000

A laptop with a full OS doesn't need to be "activated" via another computer just to use it. You're missing the point.
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thefink68

dude, the answer you are looking for is NO! No iTunes activation required to use out of the box.
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pika2000

So, you're saying that when I buy an iPad (without asking the Genius to activate it in-store), open it up, and turn it on, it's ready to use? I can start using all the apps and whatnot?
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thefink68

Are you pranking us? I just answered your question.
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Chasingcolor

Apparently you missed my example of my friend having an iphone for months without any computer. He could have gone forever without a computer link. Once it leaves the store as activated, it never has to touch itunes.

I am not missing any point.
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pika2000

And you missed the fact that I know you can have a Genius to activate the iPad before you leave the store. Again, you're pulling straws just to ignore my point. Seems like asking questions or having a discussion here becomes fruitless with merry-go-round arguments you're making.
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dave

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone can definitively answer this question until one opens the box on Saturday.
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Chasingcolor

He bought apps.......songs......movies....everything from the phone itself. He did not even have a home net connection. The apps that were too big he waited till he got to a local coffee shop for the free wifi

He simply did not sync.
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pika2000

Yeah, I know that. Once activated, you can use the iPhone standalone as long as all your content is obtained via the iTunes store. Do you think I'm a fool? I have a feakin iPhone too.
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pika2000

So, as thefink68 said, apparently I would be able to buy an iPad, open the box, and use the thing + the apps right away, without having to activate it in any way (either via iTunes/Genius bar).
So, is his statement correct, or is it April's Fools.
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Chasingcolor

I did not miss your point. Your point was that grandparents would have to sync and use bloated itunes....this is not true.

A person could very likely hand their grandparents an Ipad and the grandparents would never have to use a laptop or desktop to enjoy the ipad. They would never have to load itunes.

Now, if your argument is that before you receive an ipad from an Apple store, it is activated using itunes, then you have a light argument.
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pika2000

You know what, forget it. Forget I ask anything because this discussion turns into just argument and fruitless merry-go-round.
Mods, just delete/block this thread. I'll ask somewhere else.
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Chasingcolor

Your question was answered but I think you did not get the answer which you were looking for.

If you want to never use itunes on your computer or load itunes on your computer, or sync with your computer, then buy it at the store. They can activate it.

Can the ipad be activated without itunes if shipped through mail? I do not know but I will find out this Saturday. However the responses in the thread did address your main concern. The ipad could very likely be used without a base computer.
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coologuy1957

theres no need to get so upset and demand deletion... you're asking questions that we can't find an answer to and thus don't have a definitive answer for you.... (about activation) theres only 2 days till people have it in-hand or you can check it out in the Apple store...

outside of activation, as far as itunes is concerned, you only need it to transfer content you have on a PC/Mac... if you don't have content to transfer/sync then you can just ignore it and use it for browsing, email, games, buying content directly on the device, and apps....
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peter

I think it's a good question, and one that I'm glad you asked, don't get too frustrated! I think we'll find out on Saturday whether or not an iPad delivered by UPS/FedEx needs to be activated over iTunes first before it can be used.
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thefink68

It is a good question. My apologies for any cause of frustration on my part.
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coologuy1957

I think its pretty obvious you can download all the music and movies and other content you want off of the ipad directly....

what I was stating is that if you have music, movies, and other content you want moved onto the device then you must go through iTunes... thats all... content like ripping CDs, DVDs, still requires a dedicated machine...


I can't find out on any review or any where else online if you can activate the ipad natively or if you must even do so to begin with... either way you could give it to grandma and have your laptop with you to activate it... it really is not as big of a deal as you are making it...

the only case that it would matter would be someone ordering it over the mail who did not own a single computer - and then it would only matter if you couldn't activate it natively... and it still only adds the step of taking it to IT or someone you know who has a computer...
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thefink68

You can load photos too with the camera adapters. However, the pictures would rapidly fill the iPads storage and would eventually need to off-loaded and managed by the "mother-ship".
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xam

interesting. i'd be interested to see if doubletwist builds in ipad support.
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calebolin

I think it's hilarious how many people missed the entire point of this question. It's not about whether iTunes is required to be installed on the iPad. It's whether you must connect an un-activated iPad to another machine running iTunes in order to set it up. The answer is yes, which is maddening and stupid.
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sdt33

Yes, maddening now, but that will be a moot point in a month or so. When the iCloud stuff comes out of beta, one won't need a machine running iTunes, or anything else, in order to set it up.
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dave

As of today (August 29th, 2011), yes. iTunes is required to setup an iPad out of the box.

As of ~1 month from today, nope! iOS 5 lets you setup a iPad or iPhone without the need to ever plug it into a computer. Hallelujah!
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  • coologuy1957
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