Would You Spend $50 for the Wolfram Alpha iPhone App

Filed as News on October 19, 2009 9:13 am

When I first saw this blog post at News.com, I quickly checked both Mashable and TechCrunch to see if both sites are covering the news item as well. I wasn’t wrong because who would not cover such a controversial, albeit “insane” news item? – A Wolfram Alpha iPhone app that costs $49.99.

This is rather shocking especially if you’ve heard about Wolfram Alpha before. If you don’t know what Wolfram Alpha is or have forgoten what it is all about, let  me refresh your memory.

wolframalpha_1Wolfram Alpha describes itself as a “computational knowledge engine that draws on multiple sources to answer user queries directly.”  Think of it as a search engine with an analytical mind of its own as it doesn’t only give you links that answers your query but also gives you the answer to your query citing  various links and other computational methods.

Imagine those features put in the iPhone as a native app. Is it worth the $50 price tag? The iPhone product app sales pitch goes something like – the Wolfram Alpha iPhone app is the ultimate replacement for almost any kind of calculator or reference book and much more.

Wolfram Alpha will not only give you the answers but also support those answers with stunning visualization and graphing techniques created on real-time as soon you type in your query an instruct the Wolfram Alpha engine to do its task.

Given that, are you convince that the price tag is reasonable? Would you now spend $50 to use it on your iPhone?  I don’t think so.

Why not? Because you can practically use the same features just by pointing your iPhone’s Safari browser to Wolfram Alpha’s website. Nevermind if the Safari browser will not give justice to the stunning visualization of Wolfram Alpha’s iPhone app, the most important thing for a web tool such as Wolfram Alpha is if gives the correct answer to a user query. And the Wolfram Alpha website does that quite efficiently.

Maybe some might spend that much for an iPhone app.  The Apple guys may think so because they immediately approve the Wolfram Alpha iPhone app.

As for me? I’m too stingy to spend that much for an iPhone app. I could get 5 cool iPhone games for that price.

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