Originally Posted by Carniphage
I wonder what Apple would have to do to allow the iPad to work without the need for a PC or a Mac.
Imagine if it could do all this stuff over WiFi or over the Internet....
- Backup and restore.
- Media syncing and organisation - From media library larger than the device capacity
- OS Upgrades.
Perhaps this is the reason for that big data center?
I would love that too, but there is a very big downside to "OTA" sync and upgrades/backup.
1) Backup is expensive bandwidth-wise, you'll be transmitting at least 16GB to upwards of 64GB over the wire, and unless you're running dual-channel 5Ghz N-wireless (ie, not most people) you're looking at maybe 10-20MB/s real speed. That's 2-4 minutes a GB, and at least a half an hour for the smallest iPad. Double and Quadruple the times for 32/64GB respectively. Imagine granny with an old wifi-B ... she'd be lucky to have it done overnight. Unusable.
2) Syncing is a more likely possibility, if you don't have too much (ie, say an album, a couple of apps, 3 podcasts, and 30 photos = 300MB) you could do it easily in a few minutes. Apple could state a cutoff per sync or what they do now with apps DLs over 3G, and not permit OTA sync for large delta sets.
3) Upgrades sound like a clear winner, but take this anecdotal real-life scenario:
My coworker was talking about how his Droid (orig) was doing an OTA upgrade to 2.2, and it bailed halfway through (he said it had lots of battery, but the Verizon store said it ran out during upgrade)... the store couldn't fix it, so he not only lost his unsync'd data, but had to get a replacement (refurbished) phone and manually reset his homescreen and repopulate his data.
That scenario would almost NEVER happen on iOS because OTA upgrades don't exist, so you must plug it in via USB which guarantees a charge and so the upgrade will never fail during firmware recycle.