Why the iPad has never shipped with a calculator app


iPad Pro
Finally the reason for no native calculator app adds up.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

As crazy as it sounds given the wide range of use-cases Apple makes possible with the iPad, it has never shipped with a built-in calculator app. And, according to a recent post on Twitter from a user claiming to be an ex-Apple employee, we may finally have an explanation.

Shock horror: it involves Steve Jobs being a perfectionist.

Check it out below.

“It is actually a funny story,” writes user Tangoshukudai. “When they were prototyping the iPad, they ported the iOS calc over, but it was just stretched to fit the screen. It was there all the way from the beginning of the prototypes and was just assumed by everyone at apple that it was going to be shipped that way.

A month before the release, Steve Jobs calls Scott Forstall into his office and says to him, “where is the new design for the calculator? This looks awful.” He said, “what new design?” This is what we are shipping with. Steve said, “no, pull it we can’t ship that.” Scott fought for it to stay in, but he knew he had to get their UI team involved to design a new look for the calculator but there was no way they could do it in that short time frame, so they just scrapped it.

It has been such low priority since then that no one cares to work on it since there is more important things to work on.”

Provided this is true, it’s not the first time Steve Jobs got involved with the calculator app which shipped with an Apple product. Back during the development of the original Macintosh, Steve repeatedly criticized the concepts engineer Chris Espinosa came up with, until an exasperated Espinosa created a customize-your-own-calculator-UI program called the “Steve Jobs Roll Your Own Calculator Construction Set.”

Jobs spent ten minutes working with the software before he had come up with a design that met his standards. This calculator design was the one which remained the standard Mac calculator tool for the next 15 years.

For the record, if you’re looking for a good calculator app for the iPad I’d recommend Calculator for iPad Free or Digits, the calculator for humans.

Source: Reddit


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