After 14 years, Apple hoped to present the iPad app we were all waiting for at WWDC

Apple’s Calculator app is expected to come to iPad for the first time, but changes will also be coming to Calculator on Mac.

María Díaz/ZDNET

Apple’s Calculator app has been conspicuously absent on the iPad since the tablet’s launch 14 years ago. Curiosity about why is now shifting towards rumors that the native app will finally be included in iPadOS 18, which will be announced today.

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While Apple launched new iPad models in May, the company plans to announce new updates to iOS, iPadOS, visionOS, and macOS at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 10. According to MacRumors and BloombergThe WWDC keynote will also include an announcement about an integrated Calculator app for all iPad models compatible with iPadOS 18.

Apple is revamping the Calculator app to bring it to the iPad, marking the first time the native app has been included on the tablet. The new Calculator app will reportedly look like the iPhone version, with round buttons, and provide a consistent experience across devices. This interface will also come to the Mac calculator, which currently has square buttons.

While we have no official information as to 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, perhaps most credibly, the design. philosophy. A person claiming to be a former Apple employee told the story on reddit eight years ago, blaming Steve Jobs for the lack of an iPad Calculator app:

“A month before the launch, Steve Jobs calls Scott Forstall into his office and says, ‘Where’s the new Calculator design?’ This looks horrible.” He said, “What new design?” This is what we sent. Steve said, “No, take it out, we can’t send it.” Scott fought to get it to stay, but he knew that “I had to get his UI team to design a new look for Calculator, but there was no way they could do it in that short period of time, so they just scrapped it.”

Because iPadOS is built on iOS, many of the original built-in iPadOS apps were simply corresponding iOS apps expanded to fit a larger screen. That Steve Jobs thinks the Calculator app that takes up the entire tablet screen is an eyesore sounds like a plausible explanation. The same user ended the story by saying that the Calculator app is still a low priority at the company.

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“We want to do it when we can do it really, really well. And, honestly, we just haven’t gotten it right,” Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said in a interview after WWDC 2020 regarding a native Calculator app for iPad.

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

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