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First look: Setting up the new iPhone 4S with iOS 5

iCloud options

Next: choose whether to set up the device as a new iPhone or restore your previous content and settings from an iCloud or iTunes backup. After setting up new, iOS 5 asks for your Apple ID. But since Sprint service hadn't yet begun working, we got a warning saying there was no network connection and asking if we wanted to skip the Apple ID step or continue configuring an alternative data connection.

If you opt to skip entering an Apple ID (or setting up a new one), Apple warns that a variety of services depend on having an account, and that setting up a new one is "free and easy." Once entered, the Apple ID setup occured quickly.

An Apple ID “is the login you use for just about everything you do with Apple,” the setup instructions explain, including configuring iCloud services, downloading software from the App Store, buying songs and video through the iTunes Store, connecting to FaceTime & iMessage, managing game achievements and challenging other players in Game Center, using Find My iPhone, iBooks, Apple’s online retail store, and to make Genius Bar appointments.

After entering or setting up a new Apple ID, iOS 5 asks you if you want to use iCloud, and outlines what the free service offers. Subsequent steps ask you if you want to backup to iCloud or to your local computer using iTunes; whether you want to set up Find My Phone and whether you want to activate Siri, explaining what those choices mean along the way.

Once finished, you're dropped at the Home screen and encouraged to try using Siri (if the service is available in your language). A companion "first look" followup profiles how Siri works in practice.