Home / iPad / After 14 years, the iPad will finally get a built-in Calculator app, sources say

After 14 years, the iPad will finally get a built-in Calculator app, sources say


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Apple’s Calculator app has been conspicuously absent from the iPad since the tablet’s launch 14 years ago. The curiosity surrounding why is now shifting to rumors that the native app will finally be included in iPadOS 18 later this year.

While Apple is expected to launch new iPad models in May, the company is also planning to announce new iOS, iPadOS, visionOS, and macOS updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 10. According to MacRumors, WWDC’s opening keynote will also include an announcement regarding a built-in Calculator app for all iPad models compatible with iPadOS 18.

Also: Apple confirms next iPad event for May 7: Here’s what to expect

While we don’t have official word on why the iPad hasn’t had a built-in Calculator app all these years, speculation has attributed the reasons to market positioning, encouraging third-party development, and — maybe most credibly — design philosophy. A person claiming to be a former Apple employee told the story on Reddit eight years ago, blaming the lack of an iPad Calculator app on Steve Jobs:

“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.”

Because iPadOS is built on iOS, many of the original built-in iPadOS apps were simply the corresponding iOS apps stretched to fit a larger screen. Steve Jobs thinking that the Calculator app filling the whole tablet’s screen is an eyesore sounds like a plausible explanation. The same user finished his story by saying that the Calculator app has remained a low priority at the company.

Also: 7 iPad Pro features I want to see Apple announce during its May event

“We want to do it when we can do it really, really well. And we honestly just haven’t gotten around to doing it great,” Apple SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said in an interview after WWDC 2020 regarding a native Calculator iPad app. 

After 14 years, I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, this rumor is definitely another thing to look forward to during WWDC.

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