Apple should acquire Wolfram Research
Wolfram Research is a strange company. Its CEO livestreams their R&D meetings and is publicly pursuing a theory of everything. Maybe next he’ll solve the Navier-Stokes smoothness problem and use it to attenuate his reality-distortion field.
But in all seriousness, Wolfram makes incredible software. Mathematica has been impressive since 1989. Wolfram Language blew my mind in 2010, and continues to drop massive updates.
More than any other company, Wolfram was perfectly poised to capitalize on the generative AI revolution. Their newest LLM updates are jaw-dropping.
And yet, Mathematica remains an academic curiosity. Industry software devs rarely dabble in Wolfram world. I myself haven’t been able to justify forking over $399/year for it, despite having a pile of real-world use-cases for it.
Meanwhile, Google and Microsoft’s OpenAI are commoditizing intelligence. Apple is, uh, sitting on Siri.
Apple should acquire Wolfram Research.
It would be good for Wolfram:
- Many devs are hesitant to use Wolfram’s opaque software. Apple could afford to make everything open-source.
- Apple has limitless computing resources. All of Wolfram Cloud would probably be a footnote on the iCloud servers.
- Wolfram apps could severely benefit from Apple’s intuitive UX teams.
- It seems like more devs choose APL than Wolfram Language for Advent of Code each year. Apple’s acquisition would probably cause unprecedented hype, and could foster a thriving community.
It would be good for Apple:
- Mathematica could become a “killer app” for Apple devices. There’s nothing else remotely like Wolfram’s ecosystem.
- Apple has always had a soft spot for schools. Paired with LLMs, a free/cheap Mathematica could revolutionize education.
- A deeper integration with Wolfram’s knowledge base could make Siri smarter.
- Mathematica would be poetic justice for how Apple’s graphing calculator saved the transition to PowerPC.
- iOS development with Wolfram Language could be pretty neat.
- Wolfram Language is great for programmatically editing images/videos/audio, and could make automations with Siri shortcuts infinitely more useful.
- Functions from Wolfram Language could give Siri thousands of useful verbs to enact: “Siri, add some reverb to this recording.” “Siri, make this photo look like this other one.” “Siri, trim this video.” And so on.
- All the other symbolic functions would make excellent additions to Numbers, Pages, Logic Pro, and the rest of Apple’s first-party apps.
- Mathematica would be a lovely addition to the Apple Vision Pro. Stereoscopic vision and 3D manipulation would make certain branches of research much more pleasant.