SpaceTime. A graphing and scientific calculator built on an advanced mathematics engine. It's not the kind of thing you need every day, but it is the kind of specialized calculator that you expect to pay dearly for when you do need it. If only there was a way to get such a calculator on the iPhone. Now there is. But first, my confession...
I've never been particularly math-minded. Details like "carry the one" slip from my mind like a comedian on a banana peel. In fact, unless I'm figuring out pixels for a website or the required resolution to print poster-size photos, I pretty much leave math up to the professionals.
In spite of this general tendency to avoid math, or perhaps because of it, I appreciate the value of a good calculator. And SpaceTime is a good calculator. (Actually, calling SpaceTime a calculator is kind of like calling Disneyland a park. Sure, technically it's true, but it's a pale description.)
SpaceTime has all the capabilities of a scientific calculator and a graphing calculator with the beautiful visuals of a top-notch video game. It's actually pretty amazing that this can all be squeezed into a package small enough to perform well on an iPhone.
Here is a list of features from the SpaceTime website:
Graph 2D, 3D and 4D function, parametric, polar, vector fields, implicit, contour, and fractal plots with a tap. Move, pinch and rotate 2D, 3D and 4D graphs in real-time. Explore mathematical concepts in an innovative interface and write your own scripts in our new programming language.
Solve limits, derivates and integrals with MobileCAS®, the first computer algebra system ever developed for iPhone.
I didn't test all of the app's features because it would take years to improve my math skills to the point where I could make use of the many options. However, SpaceTime has a long history of mathematical calculations — on desktop computers, then Pocket PCs, and now smart phone's like the iPhone and others. It's tried and true software.
Math geeks and advanced math students will understand and appreciate all the features of SpaceTime better than I ever could. (Mostly, I think the graphs are pretty.) But, I'm not going to let a little thing like "skill level" stop me from keeping SpaceTime around. After all, you never know when you'll need to do some fancy calculations. And when you do, I'll be there to lend you my iPhone.
To get into the nitty-gritty details of SpaceTime's graphing and calculating abilities, watch the video demo or visit the SpaceTime website. And, if you're in the market for a graphing calculator go download the app now. At $20 it's a steal.