Apple is about to do the unthinkable to its iPads

A person holding the iPad Air 4.
Digital Trends

Earlier today, Apple announced that new iPads are coming this May. In my eyes, this seems to be “The Chosen One” generation. We’re likely getting an OLED display, a better keyboard (hopefully), and a chip ready to chomp the AI dinner. This gadget shall finally fill the techno-digital void in my life. At last.

Or maybe I am just trying to blindly convince myself to splurge over a thousand dollars for a machine that is “still not a Mac” and “can never be a fully fleshed out workstation.” But hey, people are spending $3,500 on a headset that gives them a headache and $700 for an AI thingamajig that can’t quite figure out what it really wants to do.

But it seems the real “revolution” for the 2024 iPad generation is going to happen far away from tightly packed transistor lanes and debates on how perfectly an OLED display will play Shrek. This time around, the overlords at Apple have apparently decided to make a calculator app for the iPad.

MacRumors reports that with the release of iPadOS 18, which is set to be revealed in June, Apple will finally put a native calculator app on the iPad. What is it going to accomplish in 2024? Well, it will end the flood of memes, for one.

But why so late?

Someone holding the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro (2022).
iPad Pro 2022 Joe Maring / Digital Trends

“We wanna do it when we can do it really, really well.”

This is what Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering and a haver-of-great-hair, said in an interview with YouTuber Marques Brownlee. The product he was talking about isn’t some do-it-all AI-charged software that will affect human lives the way Facebook changed how we exist as a fraternity in an entirely virtual world.

Federighi was talking about the humble calculator app. And more specifically, the absence of a calculator app on the iPad. Blame it on Steve Jobs’ famed perfection peeve that he was never satisfied with multiple design iterations and eventually decided to ship the first iPad without a calculator. There’s a whole story behind it, which you can listen to in this excellent Apple Explained episode below:

Why The iPad Doesn't Have A Calculator

Will a calculator app on my iPad Pro affect my life in any meaningful way? Not really. Unless a caviar trader in a quaint Italian town identifies my supreme skills with numbers and how handsomely I run with an iPad in my hands, eventually handing me a job to manage the ledger for their million-dollar business involving lots of numerical typing.

The only benefit I can imagine is that this mythical Calculator app will at least look familiar, given Apple’s obsession with teeny-tiny design details. Also, it would resize well across different window formats, with and without Stage Manager, hopefully. Not exactly an award-winning proposition, but that’s the limit of the virtues I can imagine for such an app.

2024 has already been an exciting year for mobile tech. But an official iPad calculator app? That may take the cake for the biggest innovation this year.