How to Buy an iPad

Three Parts:Comparing the ModelsFinding a RetailerSetting Up the iPad

The iPad took the electronics world by storm when it first released in 2010, and now it is one of the most popular tablets on the market. You want to get one for yourself, but how do you decide which model to pick? There's actually not too much difference when it comes to functionality between the devices. What it really comes down to is storage and connectivity.

Part 1
Comparing the Models

  1. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 1
    Learn the different models. The most current models of the iPad are the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina Display. Since iPads have originally released, there are three main types of iPads: the iPad, the iPad Air, and the iPad Mini. Each of these models have different revisions and generations. For example, there are four generations of the iPad, two of the iPad Mini, and one of the iPad Air.
    • The iPad Air is actually the 5th generation of the iPad. The original iPad 4 is only available new in a 16 GB version, simply called the "iPad with Retina Display". All large iPads moving forward will be iPad Airs.
    • iPads are the largest, iPad Minis are the smallest, and iPad Airs are very light.
  2. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 2
    Decide if you need cellular service. Most iPads come in cellular and non-cellular versions. Cellular service means that you will be able to connect to the internet as long as you have a cellular signal. If you want cellular service, you will need to sign up for a data plan with a carrier that supports the iPad. All iPads have WiFi capabilities, which allow you to connect to any wireless network that you have the password for.
  3. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 3
    Think about storage. Most models have several different storage options available, which is the main feature that dictates the prices of the iPad. Most iPads released up until late 2012 (iPad 3 and iPad Mini) come in 16, 32, and 64 GB varieties. iPads released since then (iPad 4, iPad Mini w/ Retina, and iPad Air) come in 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB varieties.
    • The more storage you have, the more pictures, videos, music, and apps you can fit on the device.
  4. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 4
    Consider processing power. If you intend to run a lot of high-end apps, you might want to consider the newest iPad Air, as it has a significantly better processor than previous iPad models. That's not to say that the old ones won't work; most apps aren't made to take advantage of the new hardware yet so the vast majority of apps will work fine on an older model.
  5. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 5
    Decide on a color. Most iPads are available in Silver/White or Gray/Black. You can buy skins that change your iPad's color, but these aren't available from Apple. Other than storage size and cellular capabilities, iPads within the same generation are all identical.
    • This is the iPad 4 re-released with the Retina display. It is only available with 16 GB.
iPad Models and Release Dates[1]
Model Release Date Storage
iPad w/ Retina* Early 2014 16 GB
iPad Air Late 2013 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
iPad mini w/ Retina Late 2013 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
iPad 4 Late 2012 16, 32, 64, 128 GB
iPad mini Late 2012 16, 32, 64 GB
iPad 3 Early 2012 16, 32, 64 GB

Part 2
Finding a Retailer

  1. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 6
    Test the iPads out in person. Visit your local Apple Store or electronics retailer to give a few different iPads a quick spin. This will give you an idea about the screen size difference between the iPad and the iPad mini, and the speed and size difference between the iPad and iPad Air.
  2. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 7
    Consider buying used. Brand new iPads are expensive devices. Luckily, lots of Apple fans purchase the newest version and sell their old version, meaning that the market of old devices is always active and competitive. Check places like Craigslist or eBay for the best deals.
    • Make sure you check out the iPad in person if at all possible before committing to the sale.
  3. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 8
    Shop around for the best deal. Don't assume that the first place you look has the best deal. While Apple devices rarely go on sale, you may benefit from waiting for one of the larger shopping days such as Black Friday to score a deal on an older model.
  4. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 9
    Check online. Online retailers may be able to offer a better deal than physical retailers, though you may have to do some digging. Ensure that the retailer is legitimate and that you are actually purchasing a new iPad. Some online retailers don't make it obvious that you are buying a used product.

Part 3
Setting Up the iPad

  1. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 10
    Run the first-time setup. When you start your new iPad for the first time, you will be guided through the initial setup. Power the iPad on by pressing the Power/Sleep button on the top edge of the iPad on the right side. Swipe your finger from left to right on the screen to start the Setup process.
    • You will be asked to choose the language that you want your iPad to use. You can change this later. You will also be asked your country and region. This will let Apple determine which apps you are allowed to access in the App Store, as many are region-specific.
  2. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 11
    Connect to a wireless network. During the setup process, you will be prompted to connect to a wireless network. Select the network you want to connect to from the list. If the network is secured, you will need the password in order to connect.
  3. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 12
    Decide if you want Location Services turned on. After signing into a wireless network, you will be asked if you want to turn Location Services on. This will allow your iPad to fetch your current location for apps that request it, such as Maps. If you are connected via Wi-Fi, it will attempt to locate you based on your network's IP address.
    • Turn this on if you want to be able to use the "Find My iPad" service if your iPad gets lost or stolen.
  4. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 13
    Choose your setup option. You will be given the option to set up the iPad as a new iPad, or restore the iPad from a previous backup. If you are upgrading iPads, you can restore from a previous backup to automatically sync your apps, settings, and more. If this is your first iPad, tap "Set up as new iPad".
  5. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 14
    Sign in with an Apple ID. This allows you to sync all of your iDevices and iTunes purchases under one account. See this guide for details on creating the Apple ID. Creating an Apple ID is free, but you will need to associate a credit card if you want to make purchases from the iTunes or App stores.
  6. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 15
    Install some apps. Open the App Store and browse for apps. In order to purchase apps, you will need a credit card associated with your Apple ID, or you will need to redeem an iTunes gift card.
    • There are tens of thousands of apps available ranging from productivity to games. There are also countless sites that will tell you which apps they prefer. Feel free to experiment with apps, as many come in Lite or Free versions that give you access to some of the features.
  7. Image titled Buy an iPad Step 16
    Connect your email account. One of the most common things new users will need to do is connect an email account to the iPad. You can add your email account to your Mail app from the Settings app. Select, "Mail, Contacts, and Calendars", and then tap "Add Account". See this guide for details on connecting your email account.
    • If you are a Gmail user, you can download a dedicated Gmail app. This will also connect to the Drive app, which can be useful if you are regular Google user.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Ipad