Wolfram Alpha Still Trying To Justify That $50 iPhone App With New Virtual Keyboards

In October, computational engine Wolfram Alpha launched a slick iPhone app. The only problem? They miscalculated what it should cost. The app is great and all, but it’s simply not worth $50 when you can use the website for free.

Today, they launched their first major update to the app, version 1.1, which brings with it one new feature: new keyboards. Specifically, Wolfram Alpha now has a “default” keyboard, a “math” keyboard, a “Greek” keyboard, and a “symbol” keyboard. As they describe it, “the specialized keyboards that greet you when you first open the Wolfram|Alpha App, have been painstakingly constructed to ease the burden of entering queries.” Fair enough, these are definitely nice to have for advanced queries. But do they justify the $50 price yet? Nope.

To be fair, Wolfram Alpha also launched some updated graphics and tables with the new version of the app, but it’s still all the same data you can get on the website — again, for free. And while they slyly removed the iPhone-optimized version of the website in an attempt to try and get people to buy the app, that still doesn’t appear to be happening in droves. In fact, the smartest calculation they’ve made was slashing the price down to the more reasonable $19.99 for the holidays (it’s now back at $49.99).

When compared to the just-released $1,000 iPhone app, BarMax, Wolfram Alpha may seem like a steal. But for the third time, all the Wolfram Alpha data is available for free on the web. And you can access it on your iPhone through the browser, it just won’t presented as pretty. I’m not saying they shouldn’t charge for the app; they should. But something a lot less than $50. BarMax may actually be worth the $1,000, but only because it’s replacing a program that costs $3,000 to $4,000.

Still, if keyboards are your thing, find the $50 Wolfram Alpha app in the App Store here.