Or just magic. The Livescribe 3 smartpen works in mysterious and beautiful ways, which is most likely why it was styled after a Mont Blanc pen. Here’s how it works: if you write anything into a Livescribe notebook and have the pen synced to an iOS device via Bluetooth LE (designed to conserve energy), it instantly ports whatever you’ve written into typed text.
In other words, this would be the college magic stick. Also bundled with the pen is a microphone, adding to its arsenal of text weaponry. It gets more detailed than just text, however: if you have an address or date written, it will create a hyperlink in the iOS app so you can find the location on the Maps or iCalendar apps.
Now for availability: $150 for the pen and a 50-page notebook or for $200 for the pen, a 100-page notebook, and a leather-bound case, starting in November. High tech comes at a high price, but in this case, it just be worth it.
A tablet can never come close in the current-generation of software with a pen and paper; bridging the two might just be the right answer.