Modbook Pro: Pen-based OS X tablet returns as a converted 13-inch MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion

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:

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Retina MacBook Pros run three external displays, refreshed Airs get dual external display support

Picture by Gabor Cselle

While Apple already recognized in its support documents for Thunderbolt that the new Retina MacBook Pro supports up to three external displays (as pictured above from Other World Computing’s recent tests of the setup), it has yet to confirm official support for the refreshed Ivy Bridge MacBook Airs. Today, we get word that the new MacBook Airs indeed support two external Thunderbolt displays thanks to the recent “Mac OS X Lion Update (Mid-2012 MacBook Air)” update that “improves external display support.” Apple has not updated the device’s specs page to reflect support for dual external Thunderbolt monitors.

The image below from OWC shows two iMacs running at 2,560-by-1,440 as Thunderbolt displays, and it shows an LG monitor at 1,920-by-1,200 via HDMI. The post noted “moving images and media didn’t create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously.” This makes the new MacBooks the first to support up to four displays at their native resolution. Note: You could theoretically add even more space with AOC DisplayLink displays.

The refreshed MacBook Air with dual external Thunderbolt displays is pictured above, while the MacBook Pro with three displays is below:
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iFixit: MacBook Pro’s amazing Retina Display is made by LG Philips

[Image credit: iFixit]

We covered iFixit’s Retina Display teardown this morning, but the report left out one very important detail: Who makes the display? There had been some discussion by DisplayMate’s Raymond Soneira on whether Sharp’s IGZO display technology was used:

An IGZO Retina Display? Traditional high PPI displays (with amorphous Silicon) are inefficient with both brightness and power. As a result, the new iPad 3 with a Retina Display needs a 70 percent larger battery than the non-Retina Display iPad 2, but the MacBook Pro with Retina Display has only a 23 percent larger battery with the same 7 hour running time as the non-Retina Display MacBook Pro. How can this be? You may recall that IGZO technology has been making headlines for months, first rumored to be the technology used in the Retina Display for the new iPad 3. IGZO is significantly more efficient than amorphous Silicon. It wasn’t ready in time for the new iPad 3, but Sharp announced that production of IGZO LCDs with up to 300 PPI started in March of 2012… Just in time for the MacBook Pro… These facts lead me to speculate that the MacBook Pro is using a Sharp IGZO Retina Display…

Apple, Sharp, and Foxconn are rumored to be working together on something bigger as well.

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iFixit tears down the new MacBook Pro’s Retina display, an ‘engineering marvel’

They first took apart the new Retina MacBook Pro and called it the “least repairable laptop” ever, but today our friends at iFixit took apart the device’s most impressive new component: its Retina Display. Here is what they found:

The Retina display is an engineering marvel. Its LCD is essentially the entire display assembly. Rather than sandwich an LCD panel between a back case and a piece of glass in front, Apple used the aluminum case itself as the frame for the LCD panel and used the LCD as the front glass. They’ve managed to pack five times as many pixels as the last model in a display that’s actually a fraction of a millimeter thinner. And since there’s no front glass, glare is much less of an issue.

The major downside to the design noted in the report: the LCD is not replaceable. It is attached to the entire assembly, so this means you will likely have to replace the entire assembly if something goes wrong. It also noted that getting into the display is quite difficult, claiming, “Obliterating the front panel of the display was the only way to get it out.” Some highlights:

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Giant Retina MacBook Pro window display goes up at Apple Store

Apple has created oversized window displays in the past following its latest product launches, including the iPhone 4S, and we snapped some photos today of the new Retina MacBook Pro signage.

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New MacBook Pro’s Retina display reviewed and benchmarked

After posting initial benchmark data yesterday for the new Retina MacBook Pro’s SSD and USB 3.0, AnandTech published a longer analysis today about the notebook’s display. The report first took a closer look at the new resolution preferences for Retina MBP users and described the advantages of the different scaling options displayed in the gallery above:

Retina Display MBP owners now get a slider under OS X’s Display Preferences that allow you to specify desktop resolutions other than 1440 x 900. At 1440 x 900 you don’t get any increase in usable desktop resolution compared to a standard 15-inch MacBook Pro, but everything is ridiculously crisp… Even at the non-integer scaled 1680 x 1050 setting, the Retina Display looks a lot better than last year’s high-res panel. It looks like Apple actually renders the screen at twice the selected resolution before scaling it to fit the 2880 x 1800 panel (in other words, at 1920 x 1200 Apple is rendering everything at 3840 x 2400 (!) before scaling… Everything just looks better.

As illustrated in the images above showing benchmark data, the review found greatly improved viewing angles, black levels, and contrast when compared to the previous generation high-res MacBook Pro model. AnandTech then looked at Apple’s claims that the new MacBook Pro display reduces glare by 75 percent from previous generations:

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