Screenshot courtesy of Texas Instruments
Many years ago, high-end calculators from manufacturers like HP and TI cost several hundred dollars. Even now the top-of-the-line TI NSpire has a list price of $179.99 (discounted to $140.92 at Amazon). The more reasonably priced TI BA II PLus Professional Financial Calculator checs in at $49.99 ($42.68 discounted). But, if you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can buy The TI BA II app for $14.99. And, the app has a 4.5 star (out of 5) average user rating (only 13 reviews though).
The equally priced HP 12C Financial Calculator, by comparson, has a 3.5 star average rating with 109 ratings given.
The lowest priced iPod touch (8GB edition) costs $199. While this is quite a bit more than $50 for the TI BA II physical calculator, I’m beginning to think that we are watching the last days of the high-end physical calculator (there will always be a market for cheap $5 to $20 models in my opinion). I won’t be too surprised to see an iPod touch (or whatever its successor is called) priced at $99 sometime in late 2010 (think holiday season) or 2011. At that point, it would make sense for someone to buy, say, a $25 or $50 calculator app with the equivalent power and programability of the TI NSpire. The challenge will be to convince thousands of middle school and high school teachers to switch from the TI 83, 84, and NSpire calculators and their library of apps.