ModBook Mac tablet now shipping

January 2, 2008 // 12:02 p.m.

Tags: #apple #axiotron #gps #laptop #macbook #macos #mobile #modbook #portable #tablet

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.
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