Why does the Apple iPad have neither a calculator nor a weather app?

Apple enjoys the reputation of doing many things right, but it also pays for it very well. After all, MacBook, iPhone and iPad, to name just a few products from the most valuable company in the world, are considered particularly user-friendly, top-quality and also durable.

The fact that even the brand with the bitten apple as its logo can sometimes be off the mark is demonstrated, for example, by the so-called butterfly keyboard that has been fitted to MacBooks since 2016. It is very flat, but also sensitive to dust and thus particularly susceptible. But there is a whole series of other Apple flops, such as the AirPower charging mat. It was announced in 2017, but had to be officially buried in 2019. It was discovered that the new AirPods 2 were virtually roasted on the charging mat.

So far, so poorly developed. But it becomes almost absurd when one sometimes prefers to shelve something from the outset. This actually even follows a certain logic: what is not there cannot be broken, after all.

Obvious basics are missing on the iPad

To this day, iPad users have to put up with the fact that their tablet is missing two basic features that are actually taken for granted: the calculator and the weather app. The iPad has now been around for twelve years. Apple’s software experts have obviously not managed to develop these apps for the successful tablet for just as long. The explanations given for this rather embarrassing failure do not cast a very good light on Apple’s work processes.

Shortly before the presentation of the first iPad, in 2010, the all-powerful Steve Jobs himself is said to have expressed his displeasure with the planned calculator app. The software engineers had simply skipped developing it, preferring instead to use the version available on the iPhone. For Jobs, this was a no-go, since the iPad’s much larger display could have offered the designers significantly more possibilities. In any case, the first-generation iPad was launched without a calculator app.

Why hasn’t anything changed to this day? Apple’s boss for software issues, Craig Federighi, commented on this in a YouTube exclusive interview with the well-known vlogger Marques Brownlee (“MKBHD”) in 2020. The channel, which has more than 15 million subscribers, specializes in modern communications, entertainment and mobility electronics from smartphones to gaming consoles to electric cars. Brownlee likes to ask some awkward questions. Questions that, in this case, should lead to an answer that already seems bizarre.

Also interesting: Practical tricks in the iOS calculator

So “simple” that it’s already embarrassing

“There are some things we haven’t done because we want to do something really great in this area,” Federighi replied at the time. He added that they didn’t want to tackle a calculator app until they could actually do it well. “And honestly, we just haven’t gotten around to making it great yet,” the software expert confessed.

Aha. At Apple, iPhones, MacBooks, iPads, iMacs, etc. are developed and perfected from year to year. Yet, apparently, it doesn’t see itself capable of designing two simple apps over the course of twelve years. If it weren’t so sad, you could laugh. And because Brownlee was just on a roll, he also asked Federighi about the weather app. This is also not available for the iPad. Once again, the Apple man’s explanation followed the strange logic he had already used for the lack of the calculator app. Federighi now argued in the sense of Jobs when he said that they didn’t just want to take over the iPhone’s app. That would be “too simple.” Instead, he said, it was first necessary to clarify the question of what a weather app should look like in order to do justice to the iPad.

The fact that this issue has obviously not been resolved after twelve years and that iPad users still have to resort to third-party apps may not be a super gau for Apple, but it is certainly highly embarrassing. So embarrassing, in fact, that Steve Jobs is likely to have a veritable fit of rage in the afterlife every time the iPad is presented.