I have a TI 81 that I had to save up for in high school. It has been through a lot, and it is still one of my favorite engineering tools. The new color version may be just the thing to spur me on to a nee one. It looks like TI is going in the right direction.
Their price is going in the wrong direction. I have a TI-89 from college, and a TI-80 - a simple calculator for everyday use. But as I use my smartphone more and more for calculations, I wonder if TI will be able to stay relevant. Once my phone handles differential equations, TI will be in the catch-up game.
iPods, iPads, even monthly cell phone bills all cost around, or more than, $150. I don't think the price is too high but Cabe makes a good point that the pricing is going in the wrong direction. I wonder why.
The price is going in the wrong direction because TI has no competition. The article states in the second-to-last paragraph on the first page why the price has not gone down in 20 years. Instituitions specify TI calculators exclusively.
It's a VERY steep price for a single-function device. I disagree strongly that adding color is the right step for consumers.
wow! Ti calculators are just now going color? I had one of those graphing marvels for a few semesters and even replaced the stolen Ti-89 with a the Voyage 200. Of course you can't use it on an exam of any kind. So I bought a $20 scientific calculator and was able to everything with it. Personally, I think it is silly these schools put that on the requirement list.
I'm thinking a iPhone app can blow all of these away for a few bucks, if not free. Granted, it's nice to have dedicated buttons with tactile feedback, but students these days?
Had to laugh too at the 'high' price. I'm a geezer, and we had students spending up to $150 on a good slide rule in the day. My first gee-whiz calculator which could do only most the things a slide rule could do, was (if memory serves) an HP-35 which was north of $300 in 1970 dollars, and working engineers immediately 'had to have one'! That thing was still running fine when it became too much a dinosaur for even a cheapskate like me.
In high school, I had saved up money to buy a TI-58 calculator. I was so excited. I even wrote a program that would calculate 2^x to the last digit (x limited to the avaliable memory to store the answer). It took hours to calculate 2^1000.
Later in college I bought a TI-80 something. Took it back for a refund. The advanced functions where buried in menus. Ended up with an HP-48 and took awhile to get used to the RPN. While I never learned to program it, I did like it.
So what do I used now? On Widnows I run the HP-48 emulator. On my Galaxy S3, Droid48, another HP-48 emulator. I still use the 'real' 48 when at home. But I would not throw the calculator out with the 'old concept'. The stand-alone calculator will have a place for a long time. It represents a common reference for teaching and everyday use.
But before the smartphone, engineers traded the calculator for computers. Computers can do far more than a calculator and do it faster. Yet, calculators still survived. The smartphone is nothing more than another computer with perks. Calculators reside in that zone between teaching the math and applying that math to real world problems.
Slide rules! ... being a bit of a smart xxx in high school. Teachers would give a test and say 'no calculators'. So I learned to use a slide rule. Then one day in class, a test, no calculators. "Teacher, can I use a slide rule?" "No" "But its not a calculator." "You don't know how to use one." "Yes, I do. I learned to use it." ... "No!" grrrr.
Another time/different class, after getting the TI-58 programmable, on a trig test I could not remember the equations to solve a problem. I could use the calculator and the program library that came with it, to get the answer but we had to show our work. What to do? Ahhh! De-complied the triangle library routines and extracted the equations. Then showed my work. Got the test back. The problem was red X-ed. I didn't solve the problem the way it was taught in class therefore it was wrong. So much for creativity. :D
I agree with the HP RPN being superior, and I still use my (1987!) HP-42S. I don't quite know why, but it is significantly faster than my HP48G. Programming isn't too much of a problem on either device. Long live the SQUID! (Obscure HP-41 hacker ref)
But what do you do when the schools REQURE a Ti product? Must be a sweet deal for Ti.
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