If you were one of the millions following along today (hopefully on CNET's Live Blog) as Apple released its latest iteration of the iPad and have now decided you must buy it, be sure to add AppleCare+ to your order (pricing has not yet been made available).
First, everyone should know what sort of coverage is offered with every new iPad purchase. For included coverage, Apple shows that it truly believes in its products. Your new iPad will get one year of hardware coverage against manufacturer defects and malfunctions. That means, if your hard drive dies, some of your 3.1 million pixels fail, or anything else related to the original construction of the new iPad isn't working as expected, Apple will fix (or in some cases replace) your unit.
Last year, just a couple months after purchasing my iPad 2, I had an issue with the screen. After making an appointment at the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store, the device was replaced and I've been up and running ever since. And that's free with your purchase.
But wait, there's more!
Apple also gives you 90 days of complimentary phone support for your device. Not all problems that arise with your new iPad will require a visit to the Apple Store or a third-party reseller. In fact, many problems can be solved with a simple phone call to Apple Support.
Initial support is pretty great, so what comes with AppleCare+?
AppleCare+ bumps that great hardware coverage to a full two years, and you'll also get a full two years of phone support. That's pretty great right off the bat, but AppleCare+ for the new iPad will also give you accidental damage coverage for your device. For a small deductible ($49), you can get your new iPad repaired or replaced, even if you drop it in water, run it over with your car, or (for some reason) use it to replace a missing disc during a game of ultimate Frisbee.
And best of all, you can do that twice. Two instances of accidental damage (both with a $49 deductible) are covered.
At this point, the pundits will utter a snark-infused comment such as, "Well, if Apple is so awesome, why do I need a warranty for its products?"
In most cases, you will use your new iPad for a number of years and never encounter any problems. Your hard drive won't fail, your battery will retain an acceptable level of charge, and your screen will never diminish in clarity. You could view it as a waste of money, but the simple math is this: what if you drop it?
$49 vs. $499-plus.
Apple's concept of product coverage is closer to insurance than a warranty. It's peace of mind. Knowing that your device, which for many will be extremely mobile, will be covered if the lovely baggage handlers at the airport decided to use your bag as a shot put and your screen breaks, or if your baby nephew decides dinner wasn't all that great and relocates it across your new iPad, causing the circuitry to malfunction, is well worth it.
If you're still not convinced, AppleCare+ does a lot more than cover your new iPad. If you have a Time Capsule or AirPort device and have problems connecting your new iPad, Apple will help you out. Coverage also includes support for faulty USB cables and power adapters used with the new iPad.
Apple also supports iOS and any app it distributes on the iTunes App Store. FaceTime, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, or iMovie for iPad? Yep, covered. Got a problem with your iCloud account? Covered.
Now the nitty-gritty. AppleCare+ must be purchased within the first 30 days after purchasing your new iPad. If you do not buy AppleCare+ with your initial purchase, you have to take your new iPad to an Apple Store to have it inspected before purchasing AppleCare+ for that device. For more-detailed questions, Apple has provided users with a robust FAQ page.
Will you be purchasing AppleCare+? Is it worth it to you? Sound off in the comments!