There are some differences between beer and cider but maybe not so much that you can't use knowledge of one for the other.
Sometimes, slower and colder IS better. Not always. The yeast is going to do what it does. It may take 5 days for fermentation to complete or 5 weeks. This is dependent on available sugar, nutrients, type of yeast, viability of yeast, temperature, oxygen, and probably some other things I'm missing. No matter the yeast, the lower end of the recommended temp is usually a safe bet.
Now, just because fermentation may be complete does not mean taste will not change. In beer, after fermentation is complete, the yeast can clean up off flavors that may have popped up during the process. However, if you leave the beer on too long, yeast autolysis can cause off flavors. Some people scare easily and take it off very soon. I've left brews on for 1-2 months with no repercussions. I imagine lees in cider is the same way so research the common time to transfer off the lees.
Depending on what you like, you could have a drinkable cider in 2 weeks. It won't be as good as one that has aged appropriately, but that is up for you to decide.
The main thing I recommend is starting simple. Find a good recipe and try it. You may find that you make a couple batches and decide to just buy commercial. You might really get into it and buy equipment. No need to overwhelm yourself and get discouraged. :)
Good luck. Here's a recipe that I've been wanting to try, but just haven't yet. Just to give you an idea. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/grahams-english-cider-107152/
The cool thing about this one is you just let the yeast go all the way, prime with a set amount of sugar(already calculated), and wait for the bottles to carb up. Judging by the amount of replies and satisfied brewers, this recipe is a keeper. I might do it soon now that I posted this. ;)