Many of you will have seen images of the original Modbook – it’s a customized tablet style MacBook, with a host of hardware additions and a touch sensitive screen. The makers of the Modbook, Axiotron, have announced the addition of the Modbook Pro to their lineup. The 15.4 inch device is heralded as “the ultimate tablet computer,” combining speed and power with new cutting-edge hardware and software features.
The Modbook Pro uses the components of Apple’s 15-inch 2.8GHz MacBook Pro in a custom designed tablet case. Weighing 6.6 pounds, the Modbook Pro has all the ports and drives found in the MacBook Pro, as well as a GPS device and an assistive technology dual switch port for connecting input devices for people with disabilities.
With a thickness of only 0.93 inches, the Modbook Pro is actually thinner than its Apple MacBook base system (difficult to believe, I agree). The outer casing doesn’t suffer from alterations, being constructed from precision machined aluminum. There are no exterior sheet metal or plastic parts, providing unprecedented structural strength in the same way as the default MacBook Pro.
The base system’s battery remains easily accessible on the bottom of the device, although the system differs in offering a black luster finish as supposed to the brushed aluminum of a regular MacBook laptop.
Connectivity wise, the Modbook Pro includes Ethernet, FireWire 800, USB 2.0 (x2), Mini DisplayPort, digital audio, ExpressCard/34 slot and Bluetooth –- plus a three-button keybar for on/off, Mod Key and battery indicator. The upper part of the device houses the Superdrive and a magnetic catch for storing a touch screen pen.
Touch Screen Technology
While admittedly part of the system hardware, the touch screen operation is truly the defining feature of the device. The Modbook Pro employs “revolutionary new Synergy Touch technology” developed by Axiotron. This system allows the addition of pen based input simultaneously to regular touch input (a first for a touchscreen computer).
This allows you to draw or write using the digitizer pen and type text or keyboard shortcut commands all at the same time. An on screen software pad allows you to zoom in and out in a similar fashion to viewing images on the iPhone (or a laptop with the new glass trackpads). The touch screen also has an additional software interface layer (Quicktouch), which can overlay translucent buttons, pads and alphanumeric keys.
Pricing and Availability
Such revolutionary technology certainly doesn’t come cheap, with the Modbook Pro priced at a cool $4,998. There is a current $400 discount available for the Macworld conference, though you’ll need to act fast (before January 19) to receive it. If you already own a MacBook Pro, you can have the transformational surgery to convert it into a ModBook for just over $3000.
Pre-ordering now preserves your place in line when the Modbook Pro ships in May/June 2009, so there’s still somewhat of a wait before you can stake claim to arguably the most technologically advanced Mac available.