Wolfram Alpha or Rock Band

The interesting applications for the iPhone keep coming. Available now on the iTunes app store is this $50 app to access Wolfram Alpha as well as an $9.95 entertainment app to play a smartphone version of the wildly popular videogame system-based Rock Band (iTunes link).

I asked my 15 year old son at breakfast today, “Which one would you buy?” I knew the answer before I even asked: Rock Band. After I showed him a few results of searching on Wolfram Alpha — seeking he does all the time to get answers for his homework — he perked up a bit but next he said, “Dad, it’s too early to be talking about this stuff, but there’s no way I’d spend $50 bucks on something that oughta be free.” I let the matter drop.

Still, this brings up a point I’ve been thinking about: Wouldn’t everyone, including kids, want an app that they could carry around that would pop out answers to questions instantly? We’re constantly playing mind games like, “I’m thinking of an animal…” and giving 10 clues before revealing the answer, or trivia-based mind games that challenge each of us (and my son already has an amazing amount of trivia packed in to his brain).

I don’t think Wolfram will sell too many apps outside of higher education, math geeks or maybe financial “quants” on Wall Street, but Wolfram Alpha is a learning curve worthy of climbing vs. becoming highly accomplished at Rock Band. 

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About Steve Borsch

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