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Paper for iPad Hands-On: So This Is What Microsoft's Former Courier Employees Were Working On

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Like Tapose, which made its debut on the iPad yesterday, Paper is a place to store ideas. But unlike the former—which is backed by former Microsoft honcho J. Allard—the latter is more sketchbook than scrapbook, and comes from a group of individuals who once worked on the now-defunct Courier project.


Paper is not only brimming with ideas on how an app like this should be used on an iPad, it's full of ideas on how we should interact with the iPad in general. In this regard, it's much like the to-do app clear. When you first fire up the app, you're presented with an array of Moleskine-esque notebooks to choose from, each containing a different set of sketches or notes or ideas. But that's about as far as the real-world metaphors go. Once the book flips open, you have a single blank slate to work on. To exit from a notebook you merely pinch out. To bring up your tools, you swipe up from the bottoms.

There are five different writing tools, an eraser and nine different colors to choose from. But the other writing tools aside from the fountain pen and eraser cost an additional two dollars. The faster you swipe with the fountain pen, the thicker the line. Don't like a mark? Simply move two fingers counter-clockwise in a circle and it will undo your last major action, bit by bit.


For now, it mostly seems like a tool for compulsive notetakers and sketch artists, but according to The Verge, FiftyThree, Inc. wants to add more functionality to the app, which, in theory, could adapt itself into something suitable for other applications (stashing pictures? storing links?). Paper may not be as advanced as something like Sketchbook Pro, but that's not the point. It's a smartly-designed app that is easy for anyone to pick up and understand, but is also maintains some utility for creators. You can download it now in the App Store for free. [iTunes via The Verge]