Wolfram Alpha to iPhone Users: Get Off our Web, Buy Our $50 App!


If you go to wolframalpha.com on your iPhone (or iPod touch), instead of an optimized version of their website, you now presented with an intercept pop-up advising you that you can go to the App Store and get your $50 premium experience on.

Were too many people not buying the app when they could get the going to the web for free? And is this the best way for them to handle it? Let us know what you think, we already have an idea what they'll say...


[via TUAW]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

AT&T vs. Verizon -- Turns Out There's No Lawsuit for That!

Next up →

Apple Ending Clickwheel iPod Games?

Reader comments

Wolfram Alpha to iPhone Users: Get Off our Web, Buy Our $50 App!


Ouch! Little harsh. Mind you, I don't know many people willing to dish out the $50 just for "a better version of Google"...

I feel like they're entitled to sell a product and to try to optimize their sales. But lots o' luck selling that app for $50.

Um.. I have a couple of ahem Droid users here at work.. apparently droid has a free app of wolfram alpha... I guess WolfRam is a bunch of apple iphone haters.

Ok, so other than Leana, who uses this steaming pile anyway?
There are only so many times I want to see:
Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure how to compute an answer from your input

It's a great app for people taking high math fast access. I love it helps alot with some of the hw problems. It's like having mahematica program in ur pocket...

Has nobody noticed that you can click the little x and the ad goes away? I'm seeing a lot of outrage for no apparent reason.

It's worth the 50$... I use it constantly.. I can't stand the web version. It can't copy and paste content.

@Ben Thank you that is what I was about to say and just because you don't know how to use it which is clear by comments of "google alt". I find it very helpful as a machinist. But I have no need to pay out $50.00 the web version is good for me.

Well they're getting plenty of people to talk about it, but you can't charge so much for something users get for free off the web, even if certain features are enhanced. The thing is if they charged under $10, they'd probably get 50x the number of downloads. Crazy egos!

@Ben: The issue really isn't with the ad, it's the fact that WolframAlpha has disabled the iPhone-optimized version of their site and is basically telling iPhone users to gf themselves or buy the horribly overpriced app if they want to use a convenient version of their FREE service.

WolframAlpha does some really cool stuff that you just won't find anywhere else online. It didn't look like their iPhone app offered much more than what they provided for free, but I was willing to pay $5 and maybe even $10. But $50 is just ridiculous. What are they smoking to expect people to suddenly pay $50 for an app that essentially does the same thing as what was previously provided for free?! They have lost my respect and good faith. They're history unless they quickly do some fancy pricing and PR work.

Weird as hell, my post doesn't seem to appear or be anywhere on here... Had posted it from my iPhone earlier.
Could there be an issue posting comments from the mobile version online from an iPhone!?

  • MexiChriS

I don't know what the fuss is about.
Aren't most of us on jailbroken iPhones?
Download it. For free. You know the drill. It's the best way to pay them back for pricing the app so high.

@Bliztkreig101..... You and your kind are the reason apple might have a fighting chance at stopping jailbreaking! Stop stealing apps! I like my jailbroken iPhone and don't need you app theifs to ruin it for me!
If this app isn't worth 50$ then don't buy it. Also just because you have an iPhone doesn't entitle you to an iPhone optimized web page, originally the great thing about the web on an iPhone was the fact that you get the WHOLE Internet!
If you do t like it don't buy it.. And why steal it when you can just load the web page...

BadMnky, I would agree with you if it wasn't for the fact that Wolfram originally had an iPhone-version web page. The fact that they discontinued it and put that popup for iDevice users makes Blitz's argument compelling IMO. As far as other apps, Apple has a lot of work left to make the App Store a fair marketplace. Why should I have to pay $10-15 to "test out" Beejive IM? All Apple would have to do is set up a "trial period" for Apps the way the Android app store does and app pirating would be far less of a problem. Also, I'm not convinced that app pirating is the reason Apple seems to be going after jailbreaking more lately (hiring iPhone security developers etc). Apple is known for their desire to exert total control over their platforms. Although the App Store is a great selling feature for their phones vs. the competition, it really doesn't make them a lot of money (you can look at their earnings reports). Thus, the argument that pirating is the cause for Apple's push against jailbreaking doesn't hold much water.
I loved my 2G iPhone and love my 3GS. But if the next gen iPhone takes forever to crack, and Apple still doesn't give developers more control (so I can have a native flashlight app like my JB app or a native SBSettings) I'll probably switch to Android, as much as that'll otherwise suck.

@MexiChriS Maybe you have to pay $50 to post from your iPhone now ;)
@Bliztkreig101 & @BadMnky
If you're jailbroken just download UAFaker. It's an SBSetting that will trick websites into thinking you're on a desktop browser. Then you can view the normal desktop version of any site that gives you a custom page based on you using an iPhone.