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Your First Day With The iPad 2: Customizing and Configuring The Tablet

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  1. Setting Up Your 3G Wireless Internet Account
  2. What Else You'll Need to Get the Most from Your iPad 2
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If you've just purchased a brand new Apple iPad 2, you're probably pretty excited. In this article, Jason Rich spells out the initial steps to take in order to get your new tablet up and running within minutes. This process includes setting up a data plan with AT&T Wireless or Verizon if you've purchased an iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G model, as well as transferring apps and data from an original iPad if you're upgrading.
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If you've just purchased a brand new Apple iPad 2, you're probably pretty excited. In this article, you'll discover the initial steps to take in order to get your new tablet up and running within minutes.

These steps include setting up a data plan with AT&T Wireless or Verizon, if you've purchased an iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G model, as well as transferring apps and data from an original iPad, if you're upgrading.

As an early adopter of the iPad 2, you're probably filled with excitement as you hold the sleek white iPad 2 box that Apple's newest tablet device comes in. Inside is one of the most advanced and well-designed tablet devices ever created. It's a tool that can help you become more productive, stay in touch, as well as keep you informed and entertained. It's lightweight, has a long battery life (about 10 hours of continuous use), and can be used any time and just about anywhere.

Before you can begin tapping the vast potential of the iPad 2, and experiencing firsthand all that it's capable of, you'll need to take it out of its box, remove the clear plastic protective wrap that surrounds it, and then configure the tablet for the first time.

Prior to configuring your iPad 2, install the latest version of iTunes onto your Mac or Windows PC. With iTunes running on your computer, access the iTunes pull-down menu that's located in the upper-left corner of the screen and choose the "Check For Updates" command to ensure you have the latest version of the program installed. If you need to download iTunes from scratch, visit http://www.itunes.com/download.

Once your iPad 2 is removed from its packaging, when you turn it on, you'll see an image of a USB cable and the iTunes program logo on the screen with a message that simply says, "iTunes."

At this point, if you're upgrading from the original iPad and want to transfer all your apps and data to the iPad 2, be sure to perform a backup sync of your original iPad.

Otherwise, connect the iPad 2 to your computer using the USB cable that was supplied with your iPad 2. Within a few seconds, the iTunes "Welcome to Your New iPad" screen will appear (as shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1 The Welcome to Your New iPad screen appears when your iPad 2 is first connected to your computer that's running the latest version of iTunes.

From the welcome screen, you have two options: "Register Later" or "Continue." To set up your iPad 2, whether you're upgrading from the original iPad or setting up your new iPad 2 from scratch, click on the "Continue" icon.

When the iPad Software License Agreement screen appears, use the mouse to place a checkmark next to the statement that says "I have read and agree to the iPad Software License Agreement." Next, click on the "Continue" icon that's located in the lower-right corner of the screen (as shown in Figure 2).

Figure 2 The iPad Software License Agreement screen displayed within iTunes when configuring a new iPad 2

When the Apple ID screen appears, you can either enter your existing Apple ID account information, which you would have set up when you first established your iTunes account, or initially set up any other Apple product, such as a Mac, iPod, or iPhone. If you don't yet have an Apple ID, click on the "I do not have an Apple ID" and set one up for free.

The Register Your iPad screen will be displayed next. Enter or confirm your current name, mailing address, email address and phone number; and answer the four questions at the bottom of the screen by selecting responses for their respective pull-down menus. When you've entered all the required information on this screen using your computer's keyboard and mouse, click on the "Submit" icon.

The next configuration screen that appears is an important one. You must determine whether you want to set up the iPad 2 as a new device or import all your data and apps from your original iPad.

As shown in Figure 3, using the mouse, select either "Set up a new iPad" or "Restore from the backup of [existing iPad name]."

Figure 3 The Set Up Your iPad screen

If you choose "Set up a new iPad," you will be asked to enter a name for the device and then use the mouse to customize three menu options (shown in Figure 4). You can make up any device name, as long as you differentiate it from other Apple devices that sync with iTunes.

Figure 4 The second Set Up Your iPad screen

From this screen, choose any or all of the following options:

  • Automatically sync songs and videos to my iPad—This will transfer content you already have saved within iTunes on your computer, including your music and playlists.
  • Automatically add photos to my iPad—This allows you to transfer digital photos stored on your computer to be viewed using the iPad 2's Photos app.
  • Automatically sync apps to my iPad—This will transfer iPhone and/or iPad apps you've downloaded and purchased from the App Store using iTunes on your computer.

Now, when you click the Continue icon, iTunes will perform a sync with your iPad 2. Based on your selections, this process will take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes. When the process is complete, the familiar iTunes Device screen, showing the Summary of your iPad 2 will be displayed (as shown in Figure 5).

Figure 5 The iTunes Device Summary Screen for a newly installed iPad 2

If you set up your iPad 2 from scratch and didn't transfer content from your original iPad, when you turn on the new tablet for the first time after the initial installation, you'll see the core set of iPad apps displayed on the device's Home Screen (shown in Figure 6).

Figure 6 The iPad 2's Home Screen after its very first sync with iTunes

Starting in the upper-left corner of the screen, if you're holding your iPad 2 vertically, you'll see icons for the following core apps:

  • Calendar—A scheduling and calendar app that can sync information with your computer, iPhone, or other devices.
  • Contacts—A useful contact management and address book app for keeping track of names, addresses, phone numbers, and other pertinent information about the people you know. The Contacts app can sync data with your computer, iPhone, or other devices.
  • Notes—A digital notebook, useful for creating, organizing, and emailing short notes or to-do lists, for example.
  • Maps—Tied into Google Maps, this is an interactive mapping application that can be used to obtain directions to a location, for example. To fully utilize this app, it must have access to the Internet via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
  • Videos—Used for watching videos you've shot with the camera built into your iPad or downloaded from iTunes, for example.
  • YouTube—Used for watching online-based YouTube videos. This app must have access to the Internet via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
  • iTunes—This app is used to purchase and download music, videos, movies, and TV episodes (excluding apps) from the iTunes Store. This app must have access to the Internet, via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
  • App Store—Used for browsing, purchasing, and downloading apps from Apple's App Store. Currently, there are more than 350,000 third-party apps available for the iPhone and iPad, and more than 65,000 apps specifically designed for the iPad and iPad 2.
  • Game Center—This is an online community for playing games on your iPad 2, and for communicating with other gamers.
  • FaceTime—With the addition of the cameras built into the iPad 2, your new tablet is capable of video conferencing with other FaceTime users. To use this app, a Wi-Fi internet connection (not a 3G connection) must be available. FaceTime is also available for the Mac, iPod Touch, iPhone 3Gs, and iPhone 4.
  • Camera—This core app is used for snapping digital photos or shooting videos using either of the iPad 2's built-in cameras.
  • Photo Booth—This whimsical app is used to take candid photos with the iPad 2's built-in cameras, and for quickly adding special effects to them. You can then email the images to others or post them online.
  • Settings—By tapping on the Settings icon, you can adjust a wide range of settings that allow you to fully customize your iPad 2, including its appearance and how it operates.

Along the bottom of the screen, you'll see icons for four additional core apps, including:

  • Safari—This is Apple's own web browser. This version is designed specially for surfing the wireless Web via your iPad 2.
  • Mail—Used to read, create, send, and manage email from one or more accounts simultaneously. Before using this app, it must be configured with your email account information.
  • Photos—Used to view and share digital images stored on your iPad 2.
  • iPod—This app simulates the controls of an Apple iPod and allows you to listen to your favorite music on the tablet device using the same interface as you'd experience using a iPod.

By pressing and holding down any of the App icons for three to five seconds, you can reorganize the order or placement of the app icons on the Home Screen once they start to shake. Simply drag each icon, one at a time, to its desired location, and press the Home button when you're done. These core apps cannot be deleted or removed from your iPad 2, but you can add additional apps at anytime.

In order to utilize any app that requires access to the Internet, you must first either turn on your iPad 2's Wi-Fi, or set up a 3G wireless account with AT&T Wireless or Verizon, based on which iPad 2 hardware configuration you've purchased.

Setting Up Your 3G Wireless Internet Account

If you purchased one of the iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G models, at the time of purchase, you chose which wireless service provider you wanted to register with. Your choices were AT&T Wireless or Verizon. Now that you've made this decision, it's not changeable. The hardware configuration for the iPad 2 varies slightly, depending on which service provider you selected, and the two are not compatible.

At any time you can turn on your iPad 2's Wi-Fi and gain access to the Web for free, assuming you're within range of a Wi-Fi Hotspot. Otherwise, if you have an iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, you can rely on a 3G wireless Internet connection.

To set up an account with AT&T Wireless or Verizon for the first time, access the Safari app by tapping on it. A window will appear on your iPad (shown in Figure 7) informing you that you have not yet signed up for a data plan. Click on the "Now" icon to set up an account using a major credit card.

If you previously used an original iPad with AT&T Wireless and signed up for the $30.00-per-month unlimited data plan that is no longer available, you can switch your service to your new device by calling AT&T Wireless directly. Otherwise, you'll need to set up a new account and sign up for a new data plan directly from your iPad 2.

Figure 7 You must set up a Cellular Data Account before you can access the Web via a 3G network from AT&T Wireless or Verizon.

When the "Cellular Data Account" screen appears (shown in Figure 8) on your iPad 2, enter your name, phone number, and email address; and then create a password for the account, as prompted. As you scroll down, you'll have the option to choose which cellular data plan you want to sign up for and then provide your credit card information.

Unlike setting up a cell phone account, there is no long-term contract. What you will be registering for is a month-to-month data plan that can be changed or cancelled at any time with no penalties.

Both AT&T Wireless and Verizon offer slightly different data plan options. Choose which option you want to pay for, based on your anticipated monthly Internet usage, keeping in mind that if you go above and beyond the allocated usage in any given month, additional fees will apply.

Figure 8 The AT&T Wireless Cellular Data Account setup screen

Once your wireless data account is set up, your credit card will be charged on a monthly basis unless you cancel the account. Within minutes after completing the signup process, you will have full wireless access to the Internet via your iPad 2.

If you have questions relating to setting up a wireless Internet account, contact:

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