Almost three years before Apple launched the original iPad in 2010, a company by the name of Axiotron unveiled the first “Mac tablet” with the launch of the Modbook—a stylus-based tablet running OS X that is made from a converted MacBook Pro. Today, the Modbook is officially returning thanks to one of its original developers and designers. Former co-founder of the now-defunct Axiotron, Andreas Haas, and his new company LA-based Modbook Inc., today announced the new Modbook Pro- “the world’s most powerful and largest-screen tablet computer.”
Like past generations of the Modbook, the Modbook Pro uses the guts of one of Apple’s new MacBook Pros. The company will offer two configurations, both with a 13.3-inch, 1,280-by-800 flush-mounted display, based off the specs for the recently refreshed non-Retina MBPs running Mountain Lion:
The Modbook Pro’s configurable base system includes a 2.5GHz dual core Intel® Core™ i5 processor or 2.9GHz dual core Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, a 2.5–inch SATA drive (up to 1TB HDD or up to 960GB SSD), an 8X SuperDrive® DVD burner, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity capability
The company is promising seven hours on a full charge from a built-in 63.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (Modbook will also utilize a 60W MagSafe adapter). As for the digitizer and included stylus, Modbook will once again use Wacom tech:
Modbook Pro has a state-of the-art digitizer from the industry leader in pen tablet technology, Wacom®, offering 512 levels of pen pressure sensitivity — more than any other tablet computer on the market. And the Modbook Pro’s pen interface features tough and scratch-resistant ForceGlass™, providing an etched, paper-emulating drawing and writing surface… Included with the Modbook Pro is a best-inclass digitizer pen with two programmable side buttons and digital eraser. The pen is securely stowed in the built-in, magnetic catch-equipped pen garage.
The company explained it used a process called “ExoConnect” to connect “Modbook Pro components to the base system via one of its two external USB ports.” The process leaves the Modbook user with access to the one other available USB port and all other ins and outs, including: one Gigabit Ethernet port, one FireWire® 800 port, one (available) USB 3.0 port, one Thunderbolt™ port, one SDXC card slot and one audio line in/out.
A few things to note in the conversion process: You will lose the MacBook Pro’s FaceTime camera, as the conversion requires permanent removal of the enclosure, including the display and built-in cam. You also will not have access to Apple’s one-year warranty, but you will instead get one directly through Modbook Inc.
We obviously do not expect the Modbook to compete with iPad on pricing, because past versions of the device have not surprisingly retailed for more than the retail price of base Macbook Pro system. Info on pricing and availability will be made available in the coming weeks, and Modbook plans to take preorders at that time, with shipments to the United States expected early fall.