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Modder creates MacBook Keyboard

Modder creates MacBook Keyboard

Bart Reardon's work takes a MacBook Air and turns it into a keyboard-form-factor all-in-one.

While turning cheap hardware into Mac OS X-equipped 'hackintosh' machines is nothing new, one modder is attacking things from another perspective - and turning a Macbook Air into a keyboard-form-factor machine.

Spotted over on MacStories, the MacBook Air Project is the brainchild of modder Bart Reardon, who decided to create an Eee Keyboard-alike from Apple's slimmest laptop.

Designed to hide its internal workings beneath a numberpad-less Apple keyboard and a Magic Trackpad, the nearly-all-in-one - the device lacks the in-built secondary display of the Eee Keyboard - the mod dispenses with the screen and creates a small, slim, Mac - or a bulky Mac keyboard, depending on your perspective - with integral multi-touch trackpad, designed for those who are extremely space-conscious.

Although the project isn't finished yet, Reardon's last update revealed that he was attempting to find room for the Air's battery in the build - which, if successful, would give him an small form factor PC capable of running for six hours away from the mains. Coupled with a wireless display connection to a big-screen TV, Reardon could have a device that will make him the envy of Mac owners evermore.

Reardon does admit that the finished device will be "underpowered" by Mac standards, although claims that as the Air would "give a dual G5 PowerMac a run for its money" sees it being handy for "Internet/e-mail [...] maybe as an AppleTV replacement or something."

Interestingly, Reardon has set himself the challenge of keeping the keyboard and Magic Trackpad separable, with the option to de-couple them from the build and use them with any other Bluetooth-equipped machine.

Reardon's progress can be tracked over on his official build blog.

Do you applaud Reardon's aims, or has he just ruined one of the nicest machines to come out of Apple's design labs to create a Frankenstein's monster? Share your opinions over in the forums.

14 Comments

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Stelph 17th August 2010, 10:29 Quote
Any kind of mod deserves applaud in my opinion, esepecially one this involved and with some interesting ideas (wireless connection to the TV? its like the ultimate HTPC)

Bravo!
sotu1 17th August 2010, 10:38 Quote
This is what real modding is about. Not just cutting holes in the side of your pc. (*Looks at own PC and hangs head in shame*)
Cupboard 17th August 2010, 11:26 Quote
He's making a rod for his own back leaving the keyboard detachable, he'll need to leave extra space for its battery which he wouldn't otherwise.

I hope it goes well, looks shiny :)
stonedsurd 17th August 2010, 11:39 Quote
Epic win. Modding at its finest :D
rickysio 17th August 2010, 11:47 Quote
Might gonna be a pain to type on, what with the keyboard being lifted so much.
Gareth Halfacree 17th August 2010, 11:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio
Might gonna be a pain to type on, what with the keyboard being lifted so much.
I dunno - I used to manage on the Commodore 64...
Zurechial 17th August 2010, 14:40 Quote
That's awesome and the in-built modularity of the keyboard and trackpad is a nice touch. As it shows on the blog, he can switch them around for left-handedness as needed.
Cthippo 17th August 2010, 20:25 Quote
I'm surprised Apple hasn't sued him yet.

Awesome work, though.
The_Beast 17th August 2010, 21:14 Quote
Pretty sweet mod
bulldogjeff 23rd August 2010, 00:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
I'm surprised Apple hasn't sued him yet.

Awesome work, though.

I'm sure as we speak Apple are getting their lawyers to build up a case...As in law suit not some thing to mod it with!
docodine 4th September 2010, 20:21 Quote
He didn't ruin the machine, iirc he got the MBA broken.

Great work either way!
Teelzebub 4th September 2010, 20:46 Quote
Thats what I call a mod, There's some clever people out there.
Pieface 4th September 2010, 20:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
I'm surprised Apple hasn't sued him yet.

Awesome work, though.

I dunno, if it works I reckon they could get interested.
Altron 4th September 2010, 22:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pieface
I dunno, if it works I reckon they could get interested.

Why? I don't think anyone else has gotten in legal troubles for PC modding, except of course for voiding the warranty.
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