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What Do You Need to Use an iPad?

Congratulations! You’ve selected one of the most incredible handheld devices ever seen. Of course, the iPad is a combination of a killer audio and video iPod, an e-book reader, a powerful Internet communications device, a superb handheld gaming device, a still and video camera, and a platform for over 550,000 apps.

To actually use your iPad, only a few simple things are required.

You don't actually need a computer with iTunes to sync your iPad. Because iOS 5 and later lets you activate, set up, update, back up, and restore an iPad wirelessly without a computer, you don’t technically need one to use your iPad. But it’s still nice to have a computer; many tasks are faster and easier on a computer with iTunes than on your iPad.

If you decide to introduce your iPad to your computer, here’s what’s required for syncing:

  • A Mac with a USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later

  • A PC with a USB 2.0 port; Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Home or Professional Edition with Service Pack 3 or later

    iCloud service has higher requirements: Mac OS X Lion (10.7) or higher for Macs; or Windows Vista or Windows 7 for PCs.

Here’s a list of everything else you need:

  • iTunes software: More specifically, you need version 10.6 or later. Apple constantly tweaks iTunes to make it better. Or, launch your current version of iTunes and then choose iTunes (Help in Windows)→Check for Updates.

  • An Apple ID account: Like most things Apple, the process isn’t difficult.

  • *Internet access: Your iPad can connect to the Internet in either of two ways: Wi-Fi or cellular (if you bought an iPad with 3G capabilities and connect to a 3G service or the most recent iPad that taps into faster 4G networks when available). You can connect your iPad to cyberspace via Wi-Fi in your home, office, school, favorite coffeehouse, bookstore, or numerous other spots.

2GB of cellular service is more than enough for lower-bandwidth tasks such as web surfing and checking your e-mail.

Find a Wi-Fi network if you want to buy, rent, or watch movies.

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