iPad finally has a Calculator app - Here's everything it can do

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in iPadOS

Apple's native Calculator app is finally available on iPad in iPadOS 18, and with it come new UI elements and support for mathematical notation through the Math Notes feature.

Smartphone and tablet calculator apps displaying 4096 as the result of 1024 times 4, with scientific calculator functions visible.
The Calculator app is now available on iPad with iPadOS 18



At the company's annual WWDC on Monday, Apple revealed that the iPad would receive a dedicated Calculator application with the iPadOS 18 update. The new application will be able to take advantage of the iPad's larger screen, with a device-specific layout.

Apple's new universal Calculator application was originally created in September of 2023, under the codename Project GreyParrot. AppleInsider exclusively revealed the confidential project and its features in April, months ahead of launch.

The Calculator app now has a similar look across Apple's different platforms - iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The app features round buttons, with shades of black and orange.

For reference, the iPad never had a dedicated Calculator application until now, while the one on macOS Sonoma still featured a design introduced about a decade ago with macOS 10.10 Yosemite.

The application features different improvements such as a dedicated history tape sidebar, which can be activated from the top left of the application window, along with a greatly improved unit conversion system.

A tablet screen displaying a scientific calculator with previous calculations listed on the left side, and a current calculation of 4096 on the right.
Apple's new universal Calculator app features a history tape sidebar along with an improved unit conversion system



The history tape will make managing information significantly easier, as users will no longer need to move between apps to check calculation results.

Math Notes is one of the most significant improvements of Apple's new Calculator application. Users can access the feature through a dedicated button in the bottom left of the app window.

This feature was revealed exclusively by AppleInsider, in our April report on Apple's new Notes application. The Notes app has the exact same capabilities as Math Notes within Calculator.

Users can open Math Notes through a new button at the bottom left of the Calculator app window. Inside Math Notes on iPad, it's possible to write advanced expressions with their Apple Pencil.

Once an equals sign is written, the application will auto-complete the expression for the user, and the results change whenever the expression is modified in any way.

Math Notes supports the same functions as Apple's scientific calculator view, as well as variables. This means that users can write out an expression with different variables, and the application will complete it or adjust the result if variables are changed.

Notes app showing a lesson on projectile motion in table tennis, with a figure playing ping pong and related physics equations and graphs displayed.
Math Notes supports variables and graphing expressions



With this feature, users will be able to work on complex physics problems. During the event, Apple demonstrated that users could calculate the maximum height of a table tennis ball when hit at different speeds or angles.

Math Notes also supports graphing expressions, meaning that users will be able to instantly generate a graph within the app. AppleInsider first revealed this functionality in our report on Apple's AI initiative, which was codenamed Project Greymatter.

Managing information on different calculations, physics problems and the like will become significantly easier with Math Notes. It will also likely decrease users' reliance on third-party products such as Calcbot, Soulver 3 or PCalc.

These new enhancements for Calculator will serve to benefit a wide array of users, from students to those in the engineering sector. According to Apple, Math Notes will also be useful for day-to-day calculations.

As mentioned earlier, the revamped Calculator app is a universal application - meaning that it will be available on iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, all of which were recently announced at WWDC.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    I’m kinda bewildered (more than usual) about what took so long. 
    ravnorodomwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 36
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,686member
    I’m kinda bewildered (more than usual) about what took so long. 
    Craig Federighi stated, "Next, I want to talk about a feat that some have concluded must be a mathematical impossibility. That's right, we're bringing calculator to iPad (yay)."

    And then on the switch to MacOS with his Spaceballs stunt double parkouring down to the floor below made me lol. B)
    king editor the gratebaconstangmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 36
    TravisVTravisV Posts: 13member
    It comes 45 years late. I might have done math when in school better than I did.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    TomPMRITomPMRI Posts: 45member
    It looks like the iPad calculator doesn’t support RPN (Reverse Polish Notation), a non-starter for me (PCalc does). Are there any settings for the iPad calculator that allow a switch to what is the “RPN Mode” in macOS? If not, there should be.
    edited June 11 williamlondoncurmi
  • Reply 5 of 36
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,534member
    This may be useful for educators and students at the high school level because it looks like it's a nicer and more approachable UI than many higher end graphing calculators. For college level engineering students and practicing engineers I think it will be far less intriguing. I'm not saying it's inadequate because I have not tried it yet. I would say that for current engineering students who plan to practice in industry or academia their time may be better spent becoming familiar with tools like MathCad and Matlab because they are defacto standards and most universities have those tools available. I would even say that becoming proficient with Excel (or equivalents) for analytical processing is a worthwhile skill to acquire. 

    I can't wait to try this to see more of what it can do for practical problem solving.
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 36
    phredphred Posts: 22member
    I don’t understand.It says press = to get result,but that is how every calculator works.There may be something else that is not explained,but should be.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 251member
    Calculate84 is like having a TI-84 without the big price. 
    ravnorodomwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 36
    brianusbrianus Posts: 167member
    Can anyone with the beta confirm that this supports slideover? Would be pretty lame if we had to run it as a fullscreen app. I was hoping they'd make this a "utility" app invoked from a corner, like Quick Notes

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 36
    dewme said:
    This may be useful for educators and students at the high school level because it looks like it's a nicer and more approachable UI than many higher end graphing calculators. For college level engineering students and practicing engineers I think it will be far less intriguing. I'm not saying it's inadequate because I have not tried it yet. I would say that for current engineering students who plan to practice in industry or academia their time may be better spent becoming familiar with tools like MathCad and Matlab because they are defacto standards and most universities have those tools available. I would even say that becoming proficient with Excel (or equivalents) for analytical processing is a worthwhile skill to acquire. 

    I can't wait to try this to see more of what it can do for practical problem solving.
    Julia appears to be popular now.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 36
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,700member
    I’m kinda bewildered (more than usual) about what took so long. 
    Well, I think the under pinning engine of the iPad calculator which also supports the "Math Notes" feature is really much more than some people realize.
    It is probably in its infancy at this release but will become much much more.  It is a new innovative kind of spreadsheet.

    The fact that the engine can handle variables and formulas and graphing from hand writing is actually mind blowing.
    I predict that future releases will feature derivative and integral calculus,  linear algebra, differential equations etc...

    Imagine animating the girl hitting the ping pong ball and seeing all the variables change in real time.
    This is why the iPad Pros have such powerful CPU and GPU and so much  RAM.

    I think "Math Notes" in the long run, will be a key selling point for the iPad to mathematicians, engineers and scientists, not to mention economists in the financial industry.



    edited June 12 Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 36
    Alex_VAlex_V Posts: 225member
    I’m kinda bewildered (more than usual) about what took so long. 
    this is what took them so long:
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/216459/global-market-share-of-apple-iphone/
    They’ve been very busy.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 36
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,922member
    TomPMRI said:
    It looks like the iPad calculator doesn’t support RPN (Reverse Polish Notation), a non-starter for me (PCalc does). Are there any settings for the iPad calculator that allow a switch to what is the “RPN Mode” in macOS? If not, there should be.
    Realistically, the number of people who actually care about RPN is a very very tiny (but vocal) minority, so I'm not surprised it wasn't at the top of the feature list.
    williamlondonpascal007watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 36
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,387member
    phred said:
    I don’t understand.It says press = to get result,but that is how every calculator works.There may be something else that is not explained,but should be.
    You need to reread the article, more carefully. It doesn't say what you think it said:

    AI said:
    Once an equals sign is written, the application will auto-complete the expression for the user, and the results change whenever the expression is modified in any way.
    Most calculators give you results as you enter each process, a running total. The iPad calculator apparently lets you write (with the Pencil) an entire expression and doesn't solve until the equals sign is drawn. You seem to have missed everything before that. Watch the keynote if you're interested.
    phredwilliamlondonpascal007watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 36
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,534member
    TomPMRI said:
    It looks like the iPad calculator doesn’t support RPN (Reverse Polish Notation), a non-starter for me (PCalc does). Are there any settings for the iPad calculator that allow a switch to what is the “RPN Mode” in macOS? If not, there should be.
    Realistically, the number of people who actually care about RPN is a very very tiny (but vocal) minority, so I'm not surprised it wasn't at the top of the feature list.
    And a lot of those same folks are still running vi/vim as their primary text editor on their latest Macs. Once you’re comfortable with a tool it becomes second nature so there is little motivation to change. It’s analogous to comparing the standard keyboard/typewriter layout that was originally designed to slow typists down to reduce mechanical jams vs the Dvorak keyboard that is based more on frequent letter combinations and reduced reach.

    I’ve always felt like RPN had some similarities to programming in machine language or assembler, especially when everything was character based. But once advanced algebraic calculators arrived with natural looking expressions like sin(), cos(), tan(), log(), ln(), etc., on the display and with the ability to insert parentheses as needed, not to mention programming languages like BASIC, it was game over (for me). The Sharp EL-5500 II which had a BASIC interpreter in addition to all the statistical and scientific functions in natural layout, was the tipping point for me even though I had been using calculators like the TI-59 and HP-97 for quite a while.

    These WYSIWYG calculators with handwritten entry are very clever and a great learning tool, but like any calculator it comes down to what problem you are trying to solve and understanding how to use the appropriate tool to help you solve it. The visuals are just icing on the cake.
    williamlondonpascal007watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 36
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,480member
    One feature that doesn't get much attention and could potentially free iPad from the keyboard, is Smart Script! This feature wowed me during the demo, it should get more attention!! It could free iPad from the keyboard if it works reliably.
    dewmewilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    YucamYucam Posts: 6member
    ..and the Calculator App requires M4 Power 😅
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 36
    YucamYucam Posts: 6member
    ..and the Calculator App requires M4 Power with a Minimum of 16GB Ram ;-D
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 36
    phredphred Posts: 22member
    macgui said:
    phred said:
    I don’t understand.It says press = to get result,but that is how every calculator works.There may be something else that is not explained,but should be.
    You need to reread the article, more carefully. It doesn't say what you think it said:

    AI said:
    Once an equals sign is written, the application will auto-complete the expression for the user, and the results change whenever the expression is modified in any way.
    Most calculators give you results as you enter each process, a running total. The iPad calculator apparently lets you write (with the Pencil) an entire expression and doesn't solve until the equals sign is drawn. You seem to have missed everything before that. Watch the keynote if you're interested.
    Thank you for the response.What is the advantage of that?Speed?

    dewmewilliamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 36
    harry wildharry wild Posts: 812member
    Hopefully, iPad calculator from Apple is not commercialized!🫣
  • Reply 20 of 36
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,922member
    phred said:
    macgui said:
    phred said:
    I don’t understand.It says press = to get result,but that is how every calculator works.There may be something else that is not explained,but should be.
    You need to reread the article, more carefully. It doesn't say what you think it said:

    AI said:
    Once an equals sign is written, the application will auto-complete the expression for the user, and the results change whenever the expression is modified in any way.
    Most calculators give you results as you enter each process, a running total. The iPad calculator apparently lets you write (with the Pencil) an entire expression and doesn't solve until the equals sign is drawn. You seem to have missed everything before that. Watch the keynote if you're interested.
    Thank you for the response.What is the advantage of that?Speed?

    It's more natural? I mean, when you are writing out an expression, do you generally "solve" each part as you go or after you finish writing out the entire expression?

    Also, where would it display the solution that wouldn't be in the way before you indicate you are finished with '='?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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