1. Computing
Daniel Nations

You Just Received an iPad for Christmas. Now What?

By December 21, 2012

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iPad for Christmas

If you are lucky enough to find an iPad under your tree Christmas morning, you might not get a chance to play with your shiny new toy right away. After all, it would be rude to leave the family gathering and hide out in your room for a couple of hours no matter how much you might want to do exactly that. But at some point, you should be able to steal some quality time with the iPad. So here's a few suggestions on what to do with that time:

Apple introduced iBooks with the original iPad and their eBook reader is among the best available. Downloading iBooks also gives you an opportunity to get a look at the app store and learn how to download apps, an important lesson for those who aren't familiar with the iPad or iPhone. Do you have a Kindle? No worries. You can also download the Kindle app and get access to all of your Kindle books.

If iBooks is the first app you should download, Crackle is a close second. Crackle allows you to stream a rather nice selection of feature-length movies like Joe Dirt and Weekend at Bernie's II. Okay, most of the movies are a little old, but they are free and there are plenty of good movies to watch. Crackle also has a good collection of TV.

A Guide to Downloading Your First iPad App

I made the mistake of delaying a case purchase with my iPad 3. And while that's not a great decision no matter the circumstances, it is especially folly for someone who has plenty of hardwood floors in their house and a small toddler running around. I was promptly awarded for my folly with a chip out of the edge of my iPad and a slight crack in the corner of the screen.

Learn from my mistake. Buy a case. I would recommend a form-fitting case rather than one where the iPad rests loosely within some leather flaps. And if you like the idea of the Smart Case, go with the Smart Cover instead. The extra protection is worth it.

How to Maintain Your iPad

After a case, Apple TV is probably the best accessory you can buy for your iPad. Apple TV is a little box you hook up to your TV to get access to iTunes movies and TV as well as popular streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube. If you are familiar with the Roku devices, Apple TV is similar. And while I'd recommend Roku to anyone who didn't own an iPad, Apple TV definitely wins for iPad owners. Why? Because Apple TV allows you to send your iPad display to your HDTV wirelessly using AirPlay. That alone could make it worth it.

How to Connect Your iPad to Your TV

Are you new to the iPad and the iPhone. If you've never used one of Apple's gadgets, the iPad -- as easy as it is to use -- can still be a little intimidating. Don't worry. I have a couple of good resources that will help kickstart the learning process:

8 iPad Lessons for Beginners. This one will step you through the basics and give you an idea of what the iPad can do for you.
iPad 101: Learning the iPad. This 4-day email class is an alternative to those lessons for those who'd rather not get all of the information thrown at them at once. The lessons will cover the basics including downloading your first app, basic navigation and how to personalize your iPad experience.

The iPad has a great battery life, but there's no reason why you can't get the most out of the battery by tweaking some settings. A few things you can do to optimize your battery life include turning down the screen's brightness, turning off GPS and 4G when you aren't using them and tweaking your email settings to check for new email on a less frequent basis.

What's home sharing? A lot of people don't know about home sharing, but it's a great way to save storage space on your iPad. Home sharing is enabled in iTunes on your PC and allows you to 'share' your music and movies to your iPad. Once you set it up, you won't need to have your movies and music collection stored on your iPad to enjoy them, which means more storage space for apps.

Okay, perhaps Monopoly isn't your board game of choice. But it's Christmas! I know, you want spend all of your time in your room playing with your new toy, but remember: Christmas is a time for friends and family. And if you download a cool board game from the App Store, you can both spend time with your family and play with your tablet. If you don't like Monopoly, you can always check out Risk or Yahtzee.

Photo © Michael Blann / Getty Images

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