The Apple iPad? Yes, it’s great! Stop asking, and get one for yourself already. It seems like every person that sees me working on my iPad starts asking about it. The fact of the matter is that it truly lives up to the claims of being a “magical device.”

I was hell bent against getting one of these technological gems when they first came out, proclaiming that there really was no place in my digital life for “an oversized iPhone,” but I am happy to say that I was gravely mistaken.

The iPad is proving to be a true replacement for a laptop, save the processor-intensive applications that you may be required to use such as CAD and digital video programs. What it does masterfully is handle the majority of your computing needs in a much more sleek, transportable, and intuitive device. For the business-minded among us, it is wonderfully straightforward to use, while the techno-fetishists out there will find it to be one of the most sexy pieces of technology to come around in quite some time.

Very much like its iPhone brethren, the iPad is made great by the company it keeps with its apps. Out of the box, it’s a powerful piece of technology that can handle the basic computing tasks with ease. Web surfing, email correspondence, music and video playback, photo keeping, calendar organization, and contact information are all standard tasks that the iPad is designed to natively handle. However, upon searching through Apple’s App Store, you will find digital treasure that is sure to justify writing off this device as a business expense come April 15.

Let’s start with what is arguably one of the most useful iPad applications on the market at the moment, GoodReader by Good.iWare. This app falls under the classification of USB file transfer applications that are now officially supported by iTunes and various Apple devices. Once your iPad is connected to your computer, you are able to use iTunes as a conduit for simply dragging and dropping any file type onto your iPad. Once inside the app, you can create subfolders to help organize your files. The GoodReader application is then used to view the files directly on your iPad. GoodReader is capable of viewing many file types including PDF, Word, and Excel documents as well as most movie files. For file types that it cannot read, such as ZIP-compressed files or lighting console show disks, it acts as an easy way to have such files on hand directly in your iPad. From GoodReader, you are able to email any file type directly as an email attachment which comes in handy specifically for shooting off an archived console show disk or proprietary CAD document. Alternatively, Apple's native iPad email application gives you the opportunity to save most email attachments directly to the GoodReader application for viewing and file transfer the next time you connect the device to iTunes again.

These are just two of the thousands of available applications that the iPad can run on top of any of the tried and true iPhone apps readily available in the iTunes store.

Another new great app is iAnnotate PDF from AjiDev. It too lives up to its name in simply being a straight forward means of marking up PDF documents directly on your iPad and giving the user the ability to email it right back out. iAnnotate allows for the addition of textual notes, line drawing, and existing text highlighting among other features.

What does it all mean to us in our everyday lives? It means that we are realistically free from laboriously carting around heavy laden laptop bags to most meetings. It means more opportunities to walk away from our offices for business lunches, errands, and site checks. It means that we can keep the bulk of our very necessary digital connectivity on our person in a sleek and reasonable form factor while still being arguably more productive than before. Owning yet another digital device means freedom from many of the others.

And yes, I composed and emailed this article via my personal iPad while on a flight to Paris.