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WolframAlpha offers £30 iPhone app: World says 'LOL!'

Search engine for scientists, researchers and other assorted boffins, WolframAlpha now has an iPhone app. Problem is, it's one of the most expensive in the app store

Search engine for scientists, researchers and other assorted boffins, WolframAlpha now has an iPhone app. Problem is, at £30 it's one of the most expensive in the app store.

The premise is simple: it's the WolframAlpha search engine, but in a native app designed to take advantage of iPhone tools such as maps, as well as work better on its screen. Everything you can ask the Wolfram Web site, you can ask the app. Bizarrely though, there's no offline functionality at all.

So at £30, we're hard pushed to understand why you wouldn't just use the WolframAlpha Web site -- for free -- within the iPhone's Web browser. Wolfram thinks journalists, students and parents will consider it an "indispensable tool", though. So we asked some.

A student said, "Are you joking? £30 for an app? I can't afford food." So we asked some journalists (ourselves). "Hell no," was the general consensus. Maybe parents then? "Not in a million years. There are too many free alternatives," said proud father Rupert Goodwins.

Finally, we turned to Twitter -- the new de facto standard for scraping public opinion -- but not a single respondent said they'd pay. In fact, MikeJayDavies was amused we even asked: "Haha! Can't you just use their site?"

This raises an vexing question: who the hell is going to buy the WolframAlpha iPhone app? We asked WolframAlpha, but it simply told us it "isn't sure how to compute an answer from [our] input".

So we pass the podium over to you. Would you buy this app? Have you bought it already? Leave your opinions in the comments, or head over to iTunes if you're already willing to part with your pounds.