Saturday, March 13, 2010

D&M Innoventions : Microsoft Courier vs Apple IPad

D&M Innoventions series are each week-end on Disney and more and the goal is to introduce some amazing technologies. If you like Epcot, Tomorrowland and the spirit of the Future, then this article is for you!

Since yesterday it is possible to pre-order on the Apple web site the awaited IPad which will be released in the U.S on April 3 and at the end of April in other countries. I am always not happy that no webcam is included on the device, even if it will probably be the case in the next version. However, except if you're really in a hurry to get Apple's tablet, i strongly suggest you to wait until the end of the year.

Why? Well, not only the IPad V2 will be better as it's always the case, but also because Microsoft is working on its on tablet concept, it's called "Courier" and it looks damn' good! Think about it as an "infinite diary" where you could collect any theme park pictures you'd like when you surf on the web, or even shoot pictures with it when you're at Disneyland (a camera will be included) and share them, etc... all this with an AMAZING user interface. If you use each day a diary or a Filofax AND need a mobile device to read your emails, go on internet, note ideas, take pictures on the go, read ebooks, etc...then Microsoft's Courier will be for you. It's going to revolutionize the diary concept, and boy do we need it! But if you're looking for a device to look movies or play video games, then the Apple IPad will be a better choice.

As you know, normally I'm a Mac addict, the kind of Mac addict who doesn't even want to hear the word "Microsoft"! But it seems that this time Microsoft has designed a product that I would be pleased to order! So, this "Courier" looks great and we have now more details about it. Courier will be under an inch thick, will weight a little over a pound, and will not much bigger than a 5x7 photo when closed. But as you may have already understood Microsoft tablet will open like a book with two screens inside, so i think we can say it's more a "booklet" than a "tablet".

And why Courier will have two screens, you ask? Well you'll understand in a minute on the videos why this dual screens is a great idea but here is more details from Engadget: "The dual 7-inch (or so) screens are multitouch, and designed for writing, flicking and drawing with a stylus, in addition to fingers. They're connected by a hinge that holds a single iPhone-esque home button. Statuses, like wireless signal and battery life, are displayed along the rim of one of the screens. On the back cover is a camera, and it might charge through an inductive pad, like the Palm Touchstone charging dock for Pre.

Two screens, a mashup of a pen-dominated interface with several types of multitouch finger gestures, and multiple graphically complex themes, modes and applications. (Our favorite UI bit? The hinge doubles as a "pocket" to hold items you want move from one page to another.) Microsoft's tablet heritage is digital ink-oriented, and this interface, while unlike anything we've seen before, clearly draws from that, its work with the Surface touch computer and even the Zune HD."

Frankly, if Microsoft succeed to create a "booklet" which works as shown on the videos below I predict a big success to this new device. So, the best is to have a look at the real thing - not totally "real", though, as what you will see on the videos is CGI animation, not the final product which is expected to be released this fall. Important note: these are new videos, not the one released last September, and they show new details on the amazing Courier UI. So, even if you've seen the previous videos, don't miss these new one! Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Pictures and videos: copyright Microsoft, Engadget


Anonymous said...

Ah! Thats so amazing! Cannot wait untill this comes out - it really kicks Apple iPad in the teeth.

Any idea what sort of retail price this is going to enter at, Alain?

Alain Littaye said...

No price has been announced yet but i would say that a price around $499 would be a good choice...

Anonymous said...

Total vaporware. No pricing and no specs = no product.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog but if you don't stop bashing real, amazing Apple products and trumpeting fake, "me too" Microsoft concepts that will never see the light of day ima hit you.

Alain Littaye said...

Wait a minute, i LOVE Apple products and i'm pretty sure that the IPad will work great, i just regret that some obvious functions don't exist in this IPad version which looks a bit like a "Beta" version of the device.

C'mon, was it that difficult to include a webcam on the IPad? Honestly i'm really addict to all Aple products, but it's true that i'm tired to have to wait each time for the V2 or V3 versions to get the perfect product.

As for the Microsoft Courier, although it's true that we still have to see if it will become real or not (which, considering it's a Microsoft product remains to be proven) i hope it will be done and work just like on the concept which looks really cool. And God knows that i really, really, don't like Microsoft!

Mr. Angle said...

The videos are interesting—lots of great ideas presented—but one thing occurs to me.

By showing off these application concepts before a real, shipping product is imminent, Microsoft is giving an opportunity to both Apple and third-party developers to create similar apps for the iPad, which we know is shipping in a matter of weeks.

Maybe this is a clue as to why Apple is choosing to release a first generation iPad early, instead of holding off until a camera/webcam can be included?

Alain Littaye said...

I think it's part of the reason. The first video showing the Microsoft Courier appeared last October and, with the growing market of ebook readers (Amazon Kindle, etc) it was more than time for Apple to release their own "tablet".

Apple was of course working on it since years but i think all this contributed to a fast release of the IPad. They had to be on the market real fast and that's what happened. It's probably also the reason why the current IPad version looks a bit like a "Beta" version, the real good one will probably be the next version.

Anonymous said...

Of course we know the courier is a prototype device. But honestly, for such a large hand-held device... I don't want a camera. That would be extremely awkward and dizzy for the other user to see a very shaky video feed. I love my iMac's iSight because well... it stays put.

Unknown said...

Amusingly, anyone who owns Apple products will not buy this simply because Steve Jobs did not tell them to! The iPad is a waste of money, IMHO. It has no "category" other than "touch". Whoooopie!! I can spend $500+ to download magazines....that I don't read in the first place becuase they are crap? Or so I can check out web pages or read email? REALLY? You mean spend $500 for an email reader AND still need a real machine (and keyboard!) to do all the other tasks I need?

This Courier thing might have more potential just based on the fact that if its Microsoft, it will most likely interface better with the enterprise and be more welcomed by professional IT staff. Otherwise, its right back in that "in between" category where its not good enough to do work and way too expensive to simply purchase to read e-books.

Anonymous said...

That product really does look amazing, although there is that major possibility that it's just a concept. But this looks like the reading books of the future evisioned 40 years or so aga, but even more advanced (they never imagined the Internet those days). I sure still hope that the Courier can actually be sold one day, so it would give the feeling of 1967 Tomorrowland; happy and care-free with easy and convenient futuristic products for everyday life.