wherein I finally bought an iPad

OK. So I know I’m extremely late to the game on this whole iPad thing, but for me it’s still a bright shiny toy. And definitely an adjustment for my digital life.

I was really hesitant to get an iPad. It’s a nice chunk of money. Plus, for me, trying to decide between which one I wanted and if I needed data service on my cell plan… It was getting confusing trying to figure out what was the best cost-effective plan for me. And well, the iPad is big. I’ve got small hands and am a fan of 7-inch tablets, like my Nook Tablet I just bought earlier this year…

However, as much as I really do love my Nook, it just couldn’t do everything I wanted it to do. It’s amazing as an eReader, and even to watch videos. And I love that it’s got a spot for an SD card. But it’s not practical for writing. Or for doing the data entry stuff while on tour. (Yes, there’s data entry on tour–part of being a merch girl.) Basically, my Nook was almost there, but without rooting it, it never would be exactly what I wanted.

So on Tuesday morning I got it stuck in my head that I needed an iPad. By early afternoon I’d gone through too much cell plan math and called my provider to get details on their new plans, and well, by 3pm I had a brand new shiny iPad 2.

Why the iPad 2, instead of the fancy new iPad with retina display? Well, cost was a big thing. I’m not doing any sort of crazy stuff that requires that sort of resolution, anyway. I chose wi-fi only because Verizon is coming out with new plans, and I’ll actually save money by giving up my unlimited data plan and using my iPhone as a hotspot.

But that’s all backstory. The fun part has been figuring out all the bells and whistles and how to get the iPad to work best for me.

Of course I decided to give it  a little of my branding. And if you’ve seen any of my other gadgets, you’ll notice a trend. I dislike overly cluttered or even full screens or desktops. So I’ve been making use of folders like crazy.

As far as my top apps, thus far…

Paper by 53 I’m a big fan of this app, and other notebook apps. (I’ve got at least 3 total so far.) Now, I also like the Bamboo app, but for some reason I’ve been using this one more. I even bought the extra brushes/tools, though I think they’re a bit over priced. But I can spend hours sketching, and I love it. Hopefully I’ll be blending these images with some of my writing.

Simplenote Trying to find a good writing app as been high on my list. I use Scrivener on my Macbook to do all of my creative writing. But, it’s still going to be a while until they come out with an iPad app. So in the meantime, I’m going to try to use Simplenote since it syncs seemingly easily to Scrivener. I really don’t picture myself doing a lot of heavy writing on my iPad until I get a wireless keyboard.

Agenda I just don’t like iCal. Never really have. And for the longest time it took me forever to figure out how to get more than just my main Google Calendar to sync. The thing I love about Agenda is how beautiful it is. It’s simple and clean. And, you buy the iPad app, you get the iPhone app as well. Bonus. For now, I use Agenda for tour schedules, birthdays, and my personal calendar, and iCal for everything 20sb. I think my only complaint is that those dots which coordinate with the colors of my gCalendars aren’t all that vivid and bright. So I had to be sure to make them fairly distinct.

Newsify I honestly wasn’t confident I’d find a good RSS reader app — because, let’s face it, they aren’t know for amazing UI. Newsify is different. It’s pretty. It tries to set up your feed like a newspaper. I wish it had bylines. But for now, the fact that my 800+ unread Nintendo stories and just lumped in with all the bloggers I read regularly-ish, that’s huge for me.

Square If you do any sort of in-person sales, you need Square. We’ve been using it with our cell phones for a while now. And I’m excited about trying Square Register. Downside, it doesn’t allow for sizes, so each style of shirt has to be entered separately for each size… but I’m hoping the simplicity of the rest of the app will help.

I haven’t have this even a week… so there are plenty of apps I’ve yet discover or figure out that I need. I’d love it if there was a Google Docs app, since that’s how I do all my inventory. I’m just surprised I’m not on this thing 24/7.

So, for those of you already in the iPad club, what apps do you recommend?