With the recent release of the iPad, consumers are buzzing about the new gadget from Apple. No one is still quite sure what it does yet, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s Apple’s new product and what kind of early adopter would you be if you didn’t pick one up? Well, you might just be an early adopter with serious buyer’s remorse.
There is a promising product on the horizon from (dare I say it?) Microsoft. The Courier, rumoured to be released sometime in the second-half of 2010, is everything that the iPad is with added functionality. Rather than a giant iPod Touch, or, god forbid, a giant Zune, the Courier seems to have everything the iPad doesn’t.
The Courier’s design is smart, and seems to tackle many of the issues that people have with the iPad. It’s dual screens allow for more than one application to be open at a time, it closes in on itself allowing for worry-free transport, and it tackles the largest problem of all by adding the highly desired stylus.
The addition of the stylus allows you to take handwritten notes quickly and find and open applications with ease. People still will have to tackle the annoyance of a touchscreen keyboard, but at least this device seems like a more practical gadget for the coveted student consumer group. The biggest student complaint of eReaders thus far has been the lack of functionality. The Courier seems to solve this problem simply by adding the stylus and the capability of taking handwritten notes. So, hypothetically students could carry all of their textbooks and notebooks in one lightweight device.
Another consumer group the Courier seems to win over is the traditionally Apple-loyal group of designers. Rather than being a larger iPhone that can’t make calls, the Courier actually allows designers to work, design, take notes, research, and jot down ideas all at the same time. It’s functionality goes way beyond that of the iPad and many of my Apple-loyal, design-geek friends can’t wait for this device to hit stores.
All that being said, the emergence of this device does leave something to be said about Apple. I would assume many of you have not heard about this seemingly superior gadget, which is a clear testament to the power of the Apple brand, advertising and hype machine. There is obviously a large group of consumers out there who will simply buy the newest Apple product no matter what it does (or if they aren’t even quite sure what it does.) And don’t get me wrong, I geek out on my fair share of Apple devices. But the Courier just may be my first Microsoft purchase in years.
The question remains, how can Microsoft beat the giant that is the image of Apple? Especially among two of it’s most loyal and devoted consumer groups? And will Apple fight back? We saw with the emergence of the iPad how a scared and frightened Kindle tried to claw its way back into consumer’s hearts and minds with increased advertising. Will Apple try to do the same? If Microsoft is smart, which obviously, with still a majority of the computer electronic market, they are, they will direct their advertising to these target markets. (And it wouldn’t hurt to add in a bit of the subtle cleverness that we normally associate with brands like Apple.) We’ll just have to wait and see if Apple considers the Courier a threat. If so, expect to see increased iPad advertising around the time of Courier’s roll-out. But, with the potential superiority of Microsoft’s product, it may not matter.
UPDATE: To my despair and I’m sure the despair of many others, turns out that Microsoft has killed the project of the Courier. So sad. http://gizmodo.com/5527442/microsoft-cancels-innovative-courier-tablet-project.Share