Re: Something in what you say....
It's technically not tethered to iTunes any more, thank goodness, though the disconnection isn't immediately as helpful as it could be.
Apps, music, movies, etc can all be bought and consumed directly on the device. The free part of Apple's iCloud service keeps your device, apps and app settings backed up and synchronises them across multiple devices if you want.
Where they haven't eliminated iTunes is in importing music (and, to a lesser extent, movies) from anywhere other than the iTunes Store. If you want to buy MP3s elsewhere you'll need to put them into iTunes at some point. If you opt to subscribe to iTunes Match (US$25/year, I think) then they can sync to your device over the Internet so there's no physical tether — and I guess you needn't technically keep the original file if you don't want to — but that's a relatively minor sop.
I say movies are a problem to a lesser extent because I don't think anybody sells them DRM free so they're less of an issue in practice, and in any case you can import them straight from SD card or USB stick with the camera connector if you want. You have to copy them from the card/stick to the device before you can play them so this explicitly isn't a completely satisfying way to circumvent Apple's desire that all storage be internal.
Photos similarly can go in via USB or SD card, and most people with photos they want to import probably start from having an SD card so I'm willing to give Apple full credit there.
Me? I've paid for iTunes Match because I have a Mac and therefore a copy of iTunes that doesn't gunk my whole system up to hand, and like you I don't really want my tablet to be dependant on a tether.