The iPad app that will remind you of Microsoft's old Courier project

Apple approves Tapose, a content creation app inspired by the features offered by Microsoft's canceled Courier tablet.

Tapose; screenshot by Jay Greene/CNET

Tapose, the iPad app that aims to mimic much of the content creation capability of Microsoft's ill-fated Courier tablet, just won approval from Apple to be sold in iTunes.

Two years ago, Microsoft cooked up, then killed, Courier, an innovative tablet concept that might have rivaled Apple's iPad. Unlike the iPad, though, Microsoft's sleek, two-screen tablet was designed for content creation, not consumption. Architects, for example, could have used Courier to sketch building plans on one screen while trawling the Web for inspiration on the other.

Last November, CNET detailed the inside story of how Microsoft killed Courier, in part because the device ran headlong into an alternative vision for tablets, powered by Windows 8. Those devices are expected to debut later this year, two-and-a-half years after the original iPad launched.

Microsoft's concept for content creation on a tablet resonated with two developers from the Seattle suburbs, Benjamin Monnig and Ricky Drake. The duo turned to Kickstarter to raise funds to help them bring the Courier vision to the iPad. Their company, Tapose, raised more than $26,000, including funds from the leader of the Courier effort, J Allard, who left Microsoft shortly after it killed the project.

Monnig got an e-mail approval of the app today from Apple. He expects Tapose to debut in iTunes by the end of the day. It will sell for $2.99, a price that could be low enough to draw a large number of users.

"We wanted to make a big bang," Monnig said.

Tapose's distinguishing feature is its so-called Slide Bar, a control panel that runs vertically down the screen. Users can move it to the right or left. The split screen allows them to scrawl notes or drawings on one side in a journal while using internal apps, such as a browser, on the other.

The app also features a lasso tool that lets users select an image or Web page by drawing around it with their finger or a stylus. And Tapose also offers Web storage, so that recorded audio and video, as well as journals and photos, don't clog up the iPad's storage.

It's been a long road to get approval from Apple to sell the app in iTunes. Monnig said in early November that he expected to receive approval by Thanksgiving. The app was initially rejected because it ran two separate windows, though Apple wasn't entirely clear in its explanation, Monnig said. Later, Apple rejected it because the app used widgets showing calendars and reminders in a way that violated Apple's rules for apps.

After fixing those issues, Tapose hit another hurdle earlier this month, regarding in-app subscriptions that renewed automatically every month for its cloud-based storage. After changing the pricing to an annual subscription that didn't automatically renew, the app was approved.

"It's been terrible waiting these last few days," Monnig said. "I'm still a little in shock. I'm still waiting to see it in the App Store."

Here's a video from Tapose, showing how the app works:

 

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