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ModBook Mac tablet now shipping

ModBook Mac tablet now shipping

The rather snazzy-looking ModBook. I can't speak for anyone else, but I want one.

Hacker-esque Californian company Axiotron has announced that the long awaited ModBook is now available to order. For those who haven't yet seen it, the ModBook is a rather nifty tablet PC constructed from a 13.3” MacBook.

The ModBook swaps the MacBook keyboard and touch pad for a Wacom digitiser offering the user 512 levels of pressure sensitivity, which the company is hoping will appeal to artists and the like. The hacked-about tablet also retains the iSight camera and slot-loading optical drive of the laptop on which it is based.

Keeping the magnesium alloy shell of the MacBook, the ModBook has some rather nice tricks up its sleeve for the display other than the digitiser. The LCD panel is covered by a sheet of chemically-strengthened glass which is supposedly shatter- and scratch-proof, and can be replaced by the end-user should it become damaged. No word on how much a replacement sheet, based on a technology Axiotron has dubbed 'ForceGlass', would cost, though.

While most of the specs match the laptop on which it is based, things like a built-in SirfStar III GPS make a surprise appearance. I'm not entirely certain I'd want to be wandering around the town centre with such an expensive device on show just to find the nearest Starbucks, but perhaps that's just me.

If you're wondering about the warranty, you'd be spot-on. Although Axiotron describes itself as an “Apple Proprietary Solutions Provider” such a drastic makeover to the MacBook does render the original Apple warranty invalid, but the company is offering a one-year replacement warranty for buyers.

It's just as well they are, really: with prices starting at $2,279 (£1,142 excl. VAT and import tax) this isn't something you'll want to risk breaking out of warranty, fancy-pants replaceable glass or no.

A rather smart-looking mod making a commercial breakthrough, or has the tablet form factor had its day for all but arty-farty types? Discuss it in the forums.

10 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
will. 2nd January 2008, 13:06 Quote
When they invent see-though hands I may be interested, until then I'll stick to my wacom.
Cupboard 2nd January 2008, 13:12 Quote
That is rather cool, but rather out of my price range.

Where can you get a 13" Macbook Pro from? that would be sweet! (having an 8600GT in a 13" laptop :))
Gareth Halfacree 2nd January 2008, 13:19 Quote
My mistake - it's a modified MacBook, not a MacBook Pro.
<A88> 2nd January 2008, 14:05 Quote
You can argue as to the pros and cons of Vista vs Leopard, but when it comes to tablet functionality, Vista rules the roost. The handwriting recognition is beyond anything I've tried and whilst the Modbook might be a nice piece of hardware, it doesn't compete with something similar like a Motion tablet.

<A88>
Firehed 2nd January 2008, 15:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by <A88>
You can argue as to the pros and cons of Vista vs Leopard, but when it comes to tablet functionality, Vista rules the roost. The handwriting recognition is beyond anything I've tried and whilst the Modbook might be a nice piece of hardware, it doesn't compete with something similar like a Motion tablet.

<A88>
I expect most people going for this kind of thing are doing it as graphics designers, not people who want $2000 notepads.

Still, I'll be interested to see if Apple releases an official one at Macworld 08 in two weeks, and I'll be laughing my arse off if it's cheaper than this thing. Doubt it would happen, but you never know.
DXR_13KE 2nd January 2008, 15:08 Quote
maybe they will make a tablet pc like the normal ones from HP.....
Nexxo 2nd January 2008, 18:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firehed
I expect most people going for this kind of thing are doing it as graphics designers, not people who want $2000 notepads.
There are better (and cheaper) alternatives for that, such as the Wacom Cintiq.
sam.g.taylor 2nd January 2008, 22:08 Quote
Quote:
For those who haven't yet seen it, the ModBook is a rather nifty tablet PC constructed from a 13.3” MacBook.

Hey - you can disguise it any way you want; when you cut to brass tax it's a Mac, not a PC.
DougEdey 2nd January 2008, 22:10 Quote
Actually, the new ones use intel hardware so they become PC ;)
Firehed 2nd January 2008, 22:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
There are better (and cheaper) alternatives for that, such as the Wacom Cintiq.
Well yeah, but a Cintiq isn't exactly portable, even if you glued a Mac mini or something to the back. And the 20" Cintiq runs abotu $2k - hardly cheaper as that's just the screen. Of course, you have to compare things to the $1000 12" screen, but it's still hardly comparable. If you could rig up the 12" with a battery you'd be getting there, but it still completely lacks the integration.

I just figure that the tablet PC would be largely desired by graphics designers, and that it has fairly limited market appeal outside that demographic.


Re: Mac/PC. They're both personal computers. How would you classify a linux box running on the PPC architecture? What do you think the PC in PPC stands for? Could we drop this nonsense? It's just a different OS. If OS X is Mac and Windows is PC, does Linux quality as TD (torture device)? *ducks*
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