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A guide to setting up your new iPad Air or iPad mini Retina

So you've bought a new iPad! Congratulations on acquiring one of the best tablets on the market today. Apple's iPad is a wonderful combination of excellent design and deep app store integration that's sure to make a positive impression on anyone who's purchased the slate (or indeed received one as a gift).

But the iPad isn't ready for use out of the box. Not quite, as first of all, you've got to set up the device. Fortunately, this process isn't at all difficult. Still, we thought it would be useful to provide any tablet novices out there with a simple step-by-step guide to setup, while imparting some extra advice along the way. And at the close of this piece, we'll look at what you can do with your iPad to begin with, linking over to some useful articles in terms of tips and apps to download.

So, if you want to know exactly what you need to do to set up an iPad, follow these simple steps...

1. Select a language. There are over two dozen languages available including English, Spanish, Dutch, and Polish.

2. Select a country or region.

3. You have the option to set up the iPad over Wi-Fi or by using iTunes. We recommended going the Wi-Fi route as you can set up the new iPad from anywhere (you don't have to physically connect the tablet to a PC).

4. After you do that, select "Set Up as New iPad."

5. Select "Create a Free Apple ID."

6. Enter your birthday. This is used to determine age-appropriate services and apps, and to help recover your password should you forget it.

7. Enter a first and last name.

8. Decide if you want to use an existing email address or create a free iCloud email address.

9. Select three security questions and answers. These will also help you when recovering a forgotten password.

10. Enter a rescue email account that you'll use to recover your password should you have problems with your primary email address. If you don't have a second email account, it's worth setting one up (Gmail or are good options).

11. Choose if you want email updates turned on or off. This will send Apple news and software announcements to your inbox (or not).

14. Read the terms and conditions.

15. Do you want to use iCloud? Make your choice here.

16. If you want to use iMessage and FaceTime, associate it with your Apple ID. If you're not bothered on this front, simply skip this step.

17. You have the option to create a four-digit passcode.

18. Diagnostics & Usage is the final step. You can choose whether you want the iPad to automatically send diagnostic and usage data to Apple, or not.

19. That's it! Tap "Start Using iPad" to finally arrive at the iPad's home screen.

Activating accessibility features

The iPad has a surprisingly robust set of accessibility features. Here's how to set them up.

1. Go to Settings > General.

2. Tap Accessibility in the right column.

3. Activate the accessibility features. These include Guided Access, VoiceOver, and Assistive Touch.

What next?

With a new iPad Air or iPad mini Retina, you will of course be in the world of Apple's new operating system, iOS 7, from the get-go. We've got some handy iOS 7 tips which you might want to take a look at, and also a full review of iOS 7 if you want to read up on its capabilities.

And the first thing you'll want to do after you've set your slate up and explored the OS a bit is download some of the much talked about apps the iPad is lauded for. But which apps? Well, we can help here, with our series of articles on the best iPad apps available. Check out the best iPad news and reference apps, must-have creativity apps, business and productivity apps, communication and social apps, and finally the top entertainment apps. That lot should keep you going for a while!