Texas Instruments today launched a calculator for the iPhone that will cost $14.99 and perform all the functions of its BAII financial calculator. The move is a watershed moment for this scion of high-end calculators (yes, I know about HP, but TI is in my home state and makes the products on which I learned), and possibly an admission that the future of the calculator as a standalone device in this age of smartphones may be limited.
However according to TI spokeswoman Lin Windle, the core TI market — comprised of students and teachers — is still buying calculators, in part because fears of cheating keep wireless-enabled devices out of classrooms and testing centers. “This iPhone app is a way to broaden — not shrink — the total market,” Windle said. “My husband is a realtor and at his office he has a BAII professional on his desk, but when he’s out in the field he needs something handy. We hope this appeals to a broader market.”
I personally would hate for anyone to pry my financial calculator out of my hands, and I treasure the memories of using my TI-85 graphing calculator to play Super Breakout while I was supposed to be learning algebra, so I’m pleased that calculators are getting a bit of a reprieve. Readers, what do you think? Will we ever give up our graphing, financial, or even plain-Jane standalone calculators?