Article in App of the Week category.

Soulver Aids in Everyday Math Queries

This falls into the category of “apps I sure wish I had while I was in school.” It’s still beyond useful to me today, but…

This falls into the category of “apps I sure wish I had while I was in school.” It’s still beyond useful to me today, but it would have been great then as well. This app combines a calculator with a notepad app that builds in additional functionality usually found in Spotlight search. Here’s how this becomes such a compelling app.

Whether on you iPad or Mac, just type out your mathematical question — in numbers and symbols or real words — and it generates a response in the second column. Some questions may be tricky to formulate for a calculator but you can ask in natural language such as “$42.50 is 15% off what?” The app will identify the important bits of the question and highlight them in different colors as it parses them.

On iPad, it has a special Slide Over mode with a floating numpad so you can do math while in other applications. It has live data such as current currency values, stock rices, weather, and more. If you want to get fancy, you can create variables so you can adjust in one spot and see all your answers change.

Aside from your normal mathematic calculations, I’ve found its time-based math particularly useful as of late. You can find what day lies four a half months away, how many workdays away your vacation is, or what time it will be in 187 minutes. Plus, it has support for time zones so you can ask the time difference between two cities.

On the financial side, you can calculate mortgage payments, mortgage interest, return on investment, compound interest, and more. For example I can ask Soulver what would the monthly interest be on $15K over the course of 7 years at 5 percent. I could also find my return based on what I put in and got out.

My only wish is that this well-designed app was available on iPhone, instead of just iPad and Mac. It’s so much fun to use and is a more robust tool than the native Spotlight search.

But enough about other people's apps.


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