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When you first set up an iPad, whether with iTunes on a Mac or a PC, your iPad and iTunes will require you to either enter an existing Apple ID, or to immediately create a new free Apple ID. When you create an Apple ID, Apple will require you to link your Apple ID to a payment source. This is typically either PayPal or a credit card. Now, you may not be comfortable with allowing anyone, including Apple, to store your credit card data online. You may not have nor want to have a PayPal account. Or you may be setting up an iPad for an elderly parent, or a child who, while able to benefit from using the iPad in all sorts of ways, doesn't want to or is unable to deal with the various issues that come with online purchasing capability. For example, you probably don't want to give a six-year old child access to your credit card or PayPal account just so she can use her iPad.
There's a nifty third alternative. Purchase an iTunes gift card from a local store, or an iTunes gift certificate from your own iTunes account, and email it to yourself on behalf of the new iPad owner you're helping. The email-from-iTunes option is immediate, but gift cards are available at all sorts of stores, and like Apple's iTunes certificates, start at $10.00.
After purchasing the gift certificate or the gift card, simply enter the gift card or gift certificate code on the authorization panel for the new iTunes account on the iPad. Apple is happy, your friend or relative has $10.00 in an iTunes account, and you have fewer worries about the new user's online security, since there's a finite amount of cash available for that account.
Lisa Spangenberg is the co-author of The iPad 2 Project Book.