Wolfram Alpha iPhone full review


Will you find WolframAlpha worth the money?

Still, when you do find a use for WolframAlpha you'll wonder how you managed without it. Here at Macworld, for example, we use it to compare relative prices of items between different areas taking up to date currency conversion and VAT figures into account. This is a useful tool for accurate measuring of the validity of 'rip-off Britain' stories; also to ensure that the prices we pay in Britain are fair in comparison to the rest of the world.

And there's no doubting the power of the search engine. It remain a truly impressive means to work with information on the Internet. Which brings us to the iPhone app. The more observant amongst you may well have noticed the price - at £29.99 the WolframAlpha app can hardly be thought of as an impulse purchase (although once again we are struck by how much the App Store has lowered the amount that is considered acceptable to charge for a professional program).

Indeed, very few other apps charge this kind of price. The only other real examples are some medical applications and the SatNav programs. There's no denying that it stands out from the crowd at this kind of price, and not necessarily in a good way.

Matters aren't helped by the fact that the free WolframAlpha website is perfectly accessible from the iPhone at www.wolframalpha.com. And because the iPhone requires a data connection to get accurate information from WolframAlpha there's no real advantage to working with the iPhone app. It presents the information in an iPhone-formatted style, although you have to scroll left and right for comparisons.

One nice touch is that the text entry has not one, but two input keyboards. the regular one for text and a second one for numerical input. It also has the ability to email results to you, and you can share your findings on Twitter. Dissapointingly – at least with email – it merely passes on a link to the website rather than creating an HTML email to send to you.

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