For one reason or another, the people behind the computational knowledge engine known as Wolfram|Alpha have just released an iPhone application for fans of the otherwise free service, pricing it at a whopping $50. The mystery surrounding the huge price is yet to be unraveled, with the iPhone version of the Wolfram|Alpha website being capable of pretty much the same functionality.
In June, this year, Wolfram|Alpha developers announced that the web-based service had become available in the iPhone format as well, with a dedicated iPhone application not being too far off. Those responsible with the service encouraged Apple handset owners to add the Wolfram|Alpha icon to their home screen, making it even easier to access the world’s entire knowledge base. The iPhone application is now out but costs a lot to own, while the functionality appears to be almost identical to the iPhone version of the Wolfram|Alpha site. Perhaps our readers would like to debate as to why this is the case. If so, the comments are wide open for discussion.
Although the Wolfram|Alpha iPhone app is likely capable of loading information / rendering imagery faster, it doesn’t come with its own data base. The software still has to access the Wolfram|Alpha knowledge base over your Internet connection to provide answers, so it’s just like using the free web-service on your iPhone. Additionally, while Softpedia hasn’t had the chance to test the app, it doesn’t appear that it has the features to justify such a high price. Its developers cite the elegant, native iPhone interface as one such key feature, as well as the special notation keyboard, customized iPhone output, editable history, and integration with maps and other iPhone services, as reasons why the app is a must-have. OK, it is, but not for 50 Washingtons.
“Drawing on 20+ years of development, 50,000+ built-in algorithms, and 10+ trillion pieces of continually updated and curated data, the Wolfram|Alpha app is the ultimate replacement for almost any kind of calculator or reference book—and much more,” Wolfram Alpha LLC says. “The breakthrough technology of Wolfram|Alpha for the first time lets you get expert-level answers to your specific freeform questions—complete with stunning, dynamically generated visualizations and tables, and richer and deeper information than you imagined possible,” the Wolfram research company adds.
Leaving unanswered questions aside, the Wolfram|Alpha app is, indeed, an indispensable tool for almost any iPhone user. Whether or not the price is justified, you can have a closer look at the application using the links below.
(compatible with iPhone and iPod touch; requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later)