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Courier vs iPad


I’ll admit, as geeky as I am, sometimes I am behind-the-times on new technology.  Whether it’s just that I don’t have my ear to the ground, or that I try to avoid early hype for products that will never come to market as great as they once where, I’m seldom an “early-adopter”.

So it’s no surprise that I didn’t hear about the Microsoft Courier until I saw this video on FastCompany today.  Take a look, it’s really good.

Whoa-lly crap!  That looks exciting and useful, and not at all Microsoft-y. Look at it, it’s shaped like a notebook, not an enlarged iPhone.  The menus seem intuitive.  It comes with a pen mouse (which I’ve always wanted since the 80’s).

Plainly, I would early-adopt the shit out of this!

But slow down, says FastCompany’s Kit Eaton.  Perhaps as awesome as this is, for once, Apple will ruin Microsoft’s great idea because MS won’t be the first one to the market.

As we know, pre-orders for iPads openned up last week, and we’re only a couple weeks away from the slated ship date.  This time next month, people could be using this app below:

Right away, my eyes became allergic to watching that low-budget video, and I immediately wanted more of that Courier good-ness.  In fact, if you asked me to pick which was which, I’d think that the Courier video was done by Apple, or maybe even HP, but not Microsoft.  MS videos are usually more populist, more “look how many people use it”, less “I’m creative, be just like me”.  If I had to pick on based on just those two videos, I’d have 5 Couriers before I got even a free version of PadNotes.

However, Eaton does have a very valid point:

Now, PadNotes is not Courier. It’s developed by a small software company (Tirpirneni software), and though it’s clever, it’s evidently a first-gen piece of code. But you know by the third gen, it’ll be even more awesome. And it’s bound to get to the third generation, if not well beyond that, because iPhone developers have already demonstrated that you can maintain audience attention and thus revenue streams by updating your app products with new features. And by the third iteration, PadNotes may well be more Courier-like: Even if PadNote’s developers don’t do this, some competing company–possibly a bigger one, with more experience, will try something similar with more sophistication.

And that’s why Courier’s doomed. The iPad is coming soon, and it will sell like hotcakes (despite analyst nay-saying.) Apps like PadNotes will be available in April too, actually ready for use. We know that creative folk, who the Courier seems aimed at, still have an affinity to Apple products. And the Courier itself is still a distant hardware/software construct that nobody will get their paws on for ages. By which time Apple will have sewn up the half-laptop/half-smartphone market that tablets like the iPad are perfectly positioned in, and there’ll be a slew of apps that do exactly what Courier promised, and possibly more.

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