The latest software announcements from Apple make it easy for people to now use their iPad tablet for all your computer needs.
For those debating whether or not to spend over $1,000 for a decent new laptop, the iPad 2 is considerably cheaper (starting at $499) and now has similar functionality.
Here's how to make the most of the one-stop device so all other computers can be put away for good – and you'll never need to buy a new one.
Activating the iPad
A computer is traditionally needed to get the iPad up and running, but Apple has officially cut out the middle man. The newly announced iOS 5 software for the iPad – which is now running in a beta version ― doesn't require activation from another computer, so new users can rely solely on the tablet to get started.
Cut the cord
The iOS 5 frees users from continually updating software. Updates will be pushed over-the-air from Apple directly to the iPad, so you will no longer need to sync the device to a computer to get the latest versions.
Syncing it up
The new iCloud service has the ability to store files and music "in the cloud," which essentially means on Apple's servers. ICloud stores content – from calendar and contact information to photos, purchased books and music – and wirelessly pushes and syncs it to all of your devices. So gone will be the days when Apple product users need a computer to sync up their iPad to keep content the same across all devices.
IPad users often back up the content from their device and load it onto their computer for safekeeping with the help of a flash drive. But now everything is backed up through the cloud.
Apple's AirDrop feature on its new OS X Lion operating system uses cloud computing to store and share folders and files through synchronization, so you don’t have to email or use a flash drive to transfer files from one place to another. AirDrop features peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, auto discovery and setup, sent and receipt confirmation, and a fully encrypted transfer. In addition to big files, users can drag a conversation if they want to file it away on AirDrop.
Want to chat with friends and family? Apple iOS never had an instant messaging system, but now it does. The latest version supports text, photo, video and group messaging, so there's no need to take out another computer for those functions. Messages are also pushed to all devices at once, so you can stay updated with chat functionality on the go.