I’ve spoken before about how the iPad can be used to increase productivity, and today I want to go a step beyond that and outline two different ways that the iPad can become essential to anyone’s workflow.

One way is fairly common, and the other might be something that you haven’t heard of before. Hopefully you’ll learn something either way and will find the iPad becoming less (or more) of a toy. Let’s get cracking.

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I install, and delete, many games from my iPad. There are some that look interesting at first glance, others that are enjoyable for a moment and then quickly tossed aside, and even more that I download just to expand my horizons and end up deleting and returning to my safe haven. I decided to branch out with Kingdom Rush for the iPad, and I was a bit worried at what the outcome might be; would I enjoy this tower-building strategy game, or would it end up in the trash?

Thankfully, it’s the former. Here’s why.

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For better or worse, there is no bigger name in Japanese role-paying games than Final Fantasy. Originally debuting on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Final Fantasy series has jumped from console to console for decades.

Now Final Fantasy III has arrived on the iPad. While Japanese players got the original game in 1990, Final Fantasy III didn’t hit the states until 2006 and is only available on the Nintendo DS, Virtual Console, and iPad. Is the game worth a twenty year wait? Did it survive the jump to the iPad? Let’s find out.

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So you’re sitting in this airport with your iPad when all of a sudden you get the urge to play around with designing a website. What are you supposed to do? You don’t have your computer on-hand, and surely the iPad couldn’t help you brainstorm, design, and build a website, right?

Wrong. With the proper tools the iPad could easily be a useful crutch in this scenario, allowing you to capitalize on a burst of inspiration or kill time in a productive way. Let’s dig in.

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I know that you’re sick of reading this. Frankly, I’m sick of writing this, but it bears repeating: the iPad can be used for something besides watching videos, reading, or other leisure activities. While it certainly excels at those types of tasks, it can also be used to create things as well.

Enter Textastic. Textastic is a text editor for the iPad that allows you to write in several different programming languages, with many of the features of a desktop text editor. If you’re ready to begin coding from your iPad, Textastic just might be the place to start.

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Accepting payments used to be a pain. If you weren’t an authorized business with a way of actually charging a credit or debit card, you were forced to only accept cash. As we continue to grow more reliant on online payments and swiping our plastic cards, this excludes a large number of people – like myself – that would gladly give you some money, if you would let me.

Enter Square. Square is an easy way to get paid, with a full, end-to-end system that will allow you to start accepting payments right away. Is Square worth your time, or is it another ‘easy’ payment system (ahem, PayPal) that promises the sky but fails to deliver? That’s what I’d like to discuss today.

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Rocketcat Games are no strangers to the App Store, creating a series of games based on hooks and travelling throughout the world, often with some awesome hats. They recently branched out from this hook-swinging series with Mage Gauntlet, an action-RPG with retro stylings and enough pixel art to make anybody who’s used an SNES wax nostalgic.

While originally released only for the iPhone, an update has brought this game to the iPad (and, with it, a much improved app icon) and today I’m going to take a look at how well Rocketcat Games can take advantage of the larger screen size and see how well the game holds up a month later.

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Booking a hotel for your vacation used to be fairly boring. Unless you were rich you would probably end up staying in some Super–8 or Holiday Inn (my apologies if these aren’t well known outside of the US) leaving a lack of variety and only the promise of a free ‘Continental Breakfast’ getting you through the trip.

Jetsetter is going to change that. While the name implies that the app is focused on getting you to your vacation, Jetsetter is actually an app that allows you to view sales for places that you can stay while you’re on your vacation.

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Sega managed to pivot fairly well. Once Nintendo’s main competitor, pushing out advanced technologies and games all at once, the company went from being the number two console manufacturer to a software-driven company in the last decade. While they may be known for a few things, perhaps their most famous creation is Sonic the Hedgehog.

The blue, formerly-tubby hedgehog has a thing for speed and has found a new home on iOS. Sonic CD, a fan favorite, was recently released for the iPhone and iPad. Is this game worthy of all the hype, or has Sonic lost his running shoes? Let’s find out.

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This is the third installment in our Buyer’s Guide series, in which we try to lay out what kinds of things you should buy for your iPad; or, in spirit of the season, what you can get for the person who already owns the most-wanted gift of the year!

This week we’re going to look at some of the most interesting accessories you can get for your iPad. They may not fit easily into categories but are definitely worth a look! Read on for your own personalized gift guide.

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