Some iPad Help Please

I want to upgrade my original iPad's system software from 3.2 to 4.0. I've recently added some apps that don't run on 3.2.

The problem is I have no idea what mac laptop I used to setup that iPad. I think it may be gone to be honest. But the iPad wants me to connect it to the laptop that was used to set it up so it can do a software upgrade.

What is the best and fastest way to solve this problem? Should I do a factory reset on the iPad? If I do that will I lose all the apps I've got installed on the iPad? Is there another option?

I'm so confused why I need to connect an iPad to a laptop in the first place. Since that first setup, I've never connected the iPad to a laptop. I just download apps over the air and use them. Why can't an iPad do an over the air software upgrade like Android? Ugh.