Dave Greenbaum in The Apple Blog:
One of the first disappointments a brand new iPad owner often faces is the fact they can’t use their magic new toy right out of the box. New iPad users turn on their device and what greets their eyes? An iTunes activation screen; the same screen iPod touch and iPhone users see. To setup an iOS device, whether iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone, you need a computer running a compatible version of iTunes.
Since that’s the way it is for iPod, iPhone, iPod touch, and now iPad, it’s more likely an acceptance because that’s the way it is.
Ultimately the iPad will probably gain independence. But for now, regardless of logic, market conditions, or technology, Steve Jobs sees the iPad as a companion rather than a replacement for the traditional desktop or laptop. It’s both something more and something less than the typical computer. Will we see the day when the umbilical cord between traditional operating systems and the iOS devices is cut?
Probably, but in steps. First, WiFi sync with Mac or PC. Then, out of the box and immediate functionality, with synchronization an option.