iPadOS 18 could ship with built-in Calculator app, after 14 Calculator-less years

Estimated read time 3 min read

iPadOS 18 could ship with built-in Calculator app, after 14 Calculator-less years

Apple/Andrew Cunningham

Last year, Apple introduced the ability to set multiple timers at once in the Clock app on its various platforms.

“We truly live in an age of wonders,” deadpanned Apple’s Craig Federighi in the company’s official presentation, tacitly acknowledging the gap between the apparent simplicity of the feature and the amount of time that Apple took to implement it.

The next version of iPadOS may contain another of these “age of wonders” features, an apparently simple thing that Apple has chosen never to do for reasons that the company can’t or won’t explain. According to MacRumors, iPadOS 18 may finally be the update that brings a version of Apple’s first-party Calculator app to the iPad.

Calculator was one of the very first iPhone apps that shipped with the iPhone back in 2007 but was mysteriously and inexplicably absent from the iPad when it launched in 2010. It’s also the very last of those original missing apps to find its way to the iPad’s home screen—Stocks, Clock, Voice Memos, and Weather had all made the jump previously, with the Weather app coming as recently as 2022.

It’s not that the iPad is incapable of calculating; the Spotlight search feature can already handle basic off-the-cuff math and conversion questions, and third-party calculator apps like PCalc, Numerical², Calcbot, and innumerable free-to-download no-name calculator apps have stepped up to fill the gap. But it was never clear why Apple decided against shipping a first-party Calculator app with the iPad, when it had shipped one with every iPhone since 2007 and every Mac since 1984.

The new Calculator app should be more than just a straightforward port of the current iOS or macOS app. Apple is apparently planning a small overhaul of the Calculator app for macOS 15 with a history tape for tracking past calculations, a resizable window, and an updated round-button design that more closely imitates the iOS version. The iPad and macOS versions of many of Apple’s apps share a lot of code these days—Stocks, Voice Memos, News, Home, Weather, Clock, and others share essentially the same design and layout in both operating systems—so it’s a fair bet that this redesigned Mac app and the newly introduced iPad app will be the same software.

At least one developer of a prominent iPad calculator seemed undaunted by the news that his app could be Sherlocked this fall.

“Yes, I saw the MacRumors article,” wrote PCalc developer James Thomson on his Mastodon account, responding to no one in particular. “Yes, it’s fine.”

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