Tablet Madness: More Courier and iTablet Rumors

After stirring up the tech world last week with leaks on Microsoft's Courier tablet PC, Gizmodo's done it again with new info on the device. Simultaneously, another source reveals the most precise details yet on Apple's iTablet.

This time, Gizmodo's leaked video shows far more of the Courier interface—and it shows how you might use its killer app, the "infinite journal." Check out the clip below from Gizmodo.com.

It's far more conservative, and a tad more Windows-like than the previous leaked video, which could either mean it's from far earlier in the project's conception (with more basic Windows-like thinking) or from much later in the design, as it evolves towards what's technically feasible with today's equipment. Gizmodo thinks it's perhaps more of the latter, noting this incarnation of the Courier is "more conservative/realistic."

The core of the gizmo seems to be its "infinite journal," a note-taking app (or work-flow facilitator?) that's literally endless—you can plop as much in there from your activities as you like, then publish it to a website as a PDF or to Powerpoint. Keen-eyed observers will also spot a content management app that seems to borrow ideas from Delicious Library, an image-heavy browser mode that looks quite a bit like Cover Flow crossed with Top Sites (both Apple UIs) and the Smart Agenda interactive calendar. In fact, it looks more like the Codex MS research project than the previous leak—and bears a significant resemblance, in core concept at least, to the fabulous Apple future PDA tech video from 1987!

Mary Jo Foley, at ZDNet, has still more information—apparently the tech is based on Windows 7, the same way Surface is based on Vista, and it's far more advanced than a research project. It's expected to hit stores in roughly "mid 2010."

Of course, the Courier's competition will be the Apple tablet—assuming it, too, ever actually surfaces. At least iLounge has leaked the most detailed data about the device yet, scooped from an Apple insider (from Apple's Chinese manufacturers?) who correctly predicted the iPhone 3GS, the new iPod Nano, and the Chinese iPhone.

This time, the source is saying Apple has settled on a 10.7-inch screen—different from earlier rumors that mention a 7-incher which Apple has since deemed too small. That size is more in keeping with a large-format device like an e-reader, and represents a seven-fold jump over the surface area offered by the iPhone. The display is multitouch, and tentatively pegged at having six times the iPhone's resolution—it'll be close to a 720p HD screen. Having said that, it'll also run a new flavor of the iPhone OS, rather than a full Mac-like OS X, which really would move it out of the netbook PC class—it will be a better mobile e-book reader, web-browser, movie-viewer, and text-based comms device than the iPhone. The larger screen amps up the gaming potential.

The tablet will be revealed in a keynote no later than January 19th 2010—just 112 days from now—but the actual release date is rumored to be May/June. It's also likely to follow the iPhone/iPod Touch model and come in two versions—one with 3G functionality, one without.

All of this leaves us wondering: Maybe these two devices won't be going directly head-to-head. If Courier arrives, it's sure to be expensive, thanks to its twin screens. It seems targeted to business users—so far there's no mention of e-books, music, or video. It'll also run a full OS, whereas Apple's machine is aimed at being the the most fun tablet, with media-heavy implementations and a simple single-slate design, and powered by the stripped-down iPhone OS (personally, I find it hard to believe Apple wouldn't include the light-weight Snow Leopard on there).

[via Gizmodo, iLounge]

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