While everyone is waiting on Apple to unveil their universally rumored iTablet/iPad device next year, Gizmodo has just scored the scoop on what Microsoft just might be planning to counter it -- the "Courier" tablet.

Decidedly un-Apple in it's approach, with dual booklet screens, pen and touch input, and feel that's all organized chaos, it's also strikingly different to Microsoft's previous Tablet PC efforts (which were largely tweaked versions of XP and then Vista). Here's why:

Until recently, it was a skunkworks project deep inside Microsoft, only known to the few engineers and executives working on it—Microsoft's brightest, like Entertainment & Devices tech chief and user-experience wizard J. Allard, who's spearheading the project. Currently, Courier appears to be at a stage where Microsoft is developing the user experience and showing design concepts to outside agencies.

Head on over to Gizmodo to see a video of the concept in action (not iPhone friendly, sorry).