Apple wants to make the iPad an essential tool in the classroom, but it can't accomplish that mission without help from some important education mainstays. Texas Instruments is among those companies, and today it's released TI-Nspire, a graphing calculator designed specifically for Apple's tablet. The $29.99 app obviously draws heavily from TI's physical TI-Nspire calculators while taking advantage of the iPad's roomy display. Many of the function keys math students have become all too familiar with are here, though the four-way touchpad has been omitted since the touchscreen can handle those interactions.

TI has seemingly packed in plenty of functionality, including the ability to import your existing .tns files. The video below does a good job outlining the app's feature set. We haven't had a chance to go hands-on with TI-Nspire yet, as it's available only in Australia right now. Thankfully you won't be left to figure things out on your own: a TI-Nspire iPad App for Dummies ebook is available immediately to coincide with today's release, and you'll find a number of video tutorials at Atomic Learning. Sure, the $29.99 price tag here may seem steep, but it's certainly better than coughing up over $100 for a calculator of the plastic variety. We expect TI-Nspire to land in the US App Store before long.

Update: Sorry folks, it appears Texas Instruments has run into some unexpected issues with the app. It's been temporarily removed and we'll update this article when it's available once again.