Slit cellophone. Lift lid with fingernails. Observe container descending to desk. And there it is -- my new, retina-display and LTE-equipped iPad.
And I think, hmm, it really does look exactly like the iPad 2.
Well of course it does and I knew it would, but prepare yourself, okay?.
Next I try on the plastic back that I used for iPad 2. Bit tighter. Mm, mmm, there we go! Kind of like squeezing into your jeans when you've put on some pounds. Not so great looking. Off it goes.
Then I pull out another transparent back that proved a bit loose on my iPad 2. THIS one hugs the newbie perfectly. I got it on Amazon for $4.13 and the shipping was covered by Prime. Click here for the link if you're interested, but bear in mind it's dicey -- there's no brand name and the vendor keeps changing. (Personally, I risked eight bucks on two more backs for friends.)
My insanely expensive Apple Smart Cover fits well, as expected. As far as I know, Apple hasn't even changed the SKU numbers for their Smart Covers.
And my treasured Joule stand by Element Case, well, it kind of fits. Snap the back off your iPad, and no problem -- but that's admittedly a pain. I see their website is calling it "The Joule for iPad 1 and 2," and the entire line is on sale. Looks like they're clearing inventory. Possibly the new model will have an adjustable slot. But if you're the Naked iPad type, give the old one a gander. Mighty handsome.
So the message for iPad accessories seems to be WAIT, except for Smart Covers. If something's dirt cheap and says "fits iPad 2 and 3," you're probably okay.
Onto setup. If you restore from the Cloud, you're in for a VERY pleasant surprise. Last time I upgraded, my 150+ old apps showed up on the new screen helter skelter; took me over an hour to tuck them back into their folders.
But this time, they all materialize inside their proper folders! THANK YOU, Apple, for fixing that truly obnoxious bug.
Next I check all my email accounts, re-enter my passwords, make sure they work and they do. Very smooth. Much smoother than my last stab at this, when I set up a new iPhone in autumn 2011. Thanks again, Apple.
Calendars and contacts fly down from iCloud promptly, painlessly. iCloud is getting a LOT more reliable.
However, wireless setup is still way too s-l-o-w for me. I've got huge apps like GarageBand and many gigabytes of music and photos. So I connect to my desktop (a Windows PC) and process speeds up consierably.
All the same, you'd do well to set aside AT LEAST 2 hours for setup, unless you're starting from scratch with no music and zero photos.
Even then, you've got to do stuff like register your Apple ID, then wait for them to email YOU with a link that you click to confirm you exist. This may sound trivial, but noooo -- the email can be annoyingly slow, and you can't download Apps until it comes through and your Apple ID is official. No Netflix, no Kindle, no iBooks, no nothin'! My dear mother confronted this problem as we set up her iPad last weekend.Her confirmation email took nearly an hour to arrive. I'm going to hope it was a temporary problem, but stand advised. (To be continued...)