TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Kool Tools: Axiotron ModBook

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 08
Column Tag: Kool Tools

Kool Tools: Axiotron ModBook

The ModBook is the right solution... for some people

by Dennis Sellers


Axiotron ModBook

If you've been around the industry for a while, you undoubtedly have been asked about what Mac tablets are available. The ModBook from Axiotron (http://www.axiotron.com) will make those who need to plan and draw very, very happy. Especially those who diagram, or are in the graphic design, visual arts, architecture and similar fields. The world's only Mac tablet is a modified Apple MacBook — hence the name. In fact, when you buy one of the "tablet-ized" laptops it comes in the original box of the MacBook that's been modded.

The ModBook is an US$2,290 or $2,479 slate-style computer. It's a tablet device, but not a touchscreen product (more on that in a minute). The less expensive model sports a 2.1GHz Core Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, a CDRW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive and a 120GB hard drive. The higher end ModBook touts a 2.4GHz Core Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a double-layer SuperDrive and a 160GB hard drive. Performance specs are the same as those of the MacBook on which the ModBook is based.

Both models retain all the ports and features of the Apple laptop, including the iSight webcam. However, the folks at Axiotron have added Wacom Pen-enabled hardware for pen input and have equipped the tablet computer to work with Apple's Inkwell, a Mac OS X 10.4 feature that provides system level handwriting and gesture recognition to several Mac applications.

They've also added a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS). To many, this may seem more of a gimmick than a useful feature since the ModBook is very hefty for a GPS device, but for others, they will be glad it's there. Thankfully, you can turn GPS off to spare the battery.

With all the extra goodies, the ModBook is slightly deeper and heavier (1.16 inches and 5.5 pounds) than an unmodified MacBook (1.08 inches, five pounds). Most of the extra heft is due to the dual-layer magnesium frame, triple-layer plated magnesium top shell and ForceGlass screen cover. These bulk up the tablet computer a bit, but it also makes it very rugged and durable.

If you like your current laptop, you probably won't go for the ModBook. As Axiotron has removed the keyboard and mouse. Of course, you can attach such peripherals via the USB ports, but that defeats part of the concept of the ModBook. It all comes down to whether you are using the ModBook as a tablet computer, or because you like having the Wacom hardware and the MacBook so closely integrated.

Also, if you want a tablet computer that sports a touch screen a la the iPhone and latest Apple laptops, the ModBook is not for you. All input requires you to use the styluses that come with the device or an onscreen keyboard (dubbed "QuickClicks"). Axiotron says the ModBook doesn't respond to hand/finger touch "for the reason that it's made for artists and design professionals whose work would be inhibited using a touchscreen device since their hands rest up on the device as they draw or design."

These features make the ModBook a less likely solution for the general end user, students and office workers ... unless they are the type of user that diagrams or draws things. For a user whose primary task is entering text, writing, email and surfing the web, a traditional laptop is much easier to use with a physical keyboard. As for gamers, well, the ModBook is not for you.

However, creative professionals, those that diagram, and users in the fields I mentioned in the first paragraph should give Axiotron's tablet Mac a look. The big draw (pun intended): with it, you can draw and write directly on the screen.

The stylus and touchscreen, utilizing Wacom technology, offer 512 levels of pressure sensitivity. On one hand, Wacom's Intuos tablet has 1,024 levels of sensitivity and costs about a third of what the ModBook costs. But after you've gotten used to the ModBook, there's something that feels natural about drawing and writing directly on the screen of the device. And it works great with software such as Photoshop and Corel Painter.

The Modbook will appeal to others beyond traditional designers. For example, an architect could carry the tablet to a job site, look up plans and view them in 3D applications. Revision notes could be drawn on-screen and quick pics taken with the iSight (though aiming the camera would be a bit tricky).

Real estate agents and insurance adjusters could use the ModBook to collect signatures and look up info easily. Ditto health care professionals, who could use the device for quickly viewing a patent's chart and making quick notes. It's also great for diagramming (for example, a network administration drawing network diagrams), jotting down notes during brainstorming sessions and helping project managers juggle projects.

For what it is, Modbook is a great device. If you're one of the previously mentioned type of potential users, the "world's only Mac tablet" should be added to your arsenal. It's worth the money for anyone who has to constantly draw or (hand) write on screen. But for most of us the ModBook would simply be an expensive novelty item.

Also note that there's no Apple warranty for the ModBook. You have to get it serviced (under its own one-year warranty) through an Axiotron authorized dealer, not in Apple Stores.


Dennis Sellers is a long-time journalist. He started in the newspaper business, but has been in the online journalism business for the past 15 years. He's the editor/publisher of Macsimum News (http://www.macsimumnews.com)

 
AAPL
$101.58
Apple Inc.
+0.72
MSFT
$46.52
Microsoft Corpora
-0.24
GOOG
$584.77
Google Inc.
+4.82

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

iExplorer 3.5.0.0 - View and transfer al...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
BusyCal 2.6 - Powerful calendar app with...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
Apple iOS 8.0 - The latest version of Ap...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
Apple Digital Camera RAW Compatibility 5...
Apple Digital Camera RAW Compatibility update adds RAW image compatibility to Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11. For more information on supported RAW formats, see here.Version 5.07: Adds RAW camera... Read more
Transmit 4.4.7 - Excellent FTP/SFTP clie...
Transmit is an excellent FTP (file transfer protocol), SFTP, S3 (Amazon.com file hosting) and iDisk/WebDAV client that allows you to upload, download, and delete files over the internet. With the... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.8.1715 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Capture One Pro 8.0.0.433 - RAW workflow...
Capture One Pro 8 is a professional RAW converter offering you ultimate image quality with accurate colors and incredible detail from more than 300 high-end cameras -- straight out of the box. It... Read more
Adobe Acrobat Pro 11.0.09 - Powerful PDF...
Adobe Acrobat allows users to communicate and collaborate more effectively and securely. Unify a wide range of content in a single organized PDF Portfolio. Collaborate through electronic document... Read more
Adobe Reader 11.0.09 - View PDF document...
Adobe Reader allows users to view PDF documents. You may not know what a PDF file is, but you've probably come across one at some point. PDF files are used by companies and even the IRS to... Read more
iFFmpeg 4.6.1 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a graphical front-end for FFmpeg, a command-line tool used to convert multimedia files between formats. The command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Leg·end·ar·y (Games)
Leg·end·ar·y 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Simple and yet complex. Leg•end•dar•y is a grid-based puzzle game based on numbers. Discover the adventure of Leg•end•dar•y and... | Read more »
KuaiBoard (formerly QuickBoard) (Utilit...
KuaiBoard (formerly QuickBoard) 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KuaiBoard is currently 50% off for launch! Billing info. Signatures. Locations. KuaiBoard allows you to... | Read more »
Treasure Fetch - Adventure Time (Games)
Treasure Fetch - Adventure Time 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Adventure Time Treasure Fetch is a fresh take on the classic Snake game! STRETCHY JAKE Snake your way... | Read more »
Light in the Dark (Games)
Light in the Dark 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: Be enlightened by this delightful puzzle game that has never before seen the light of day! "A physics and color-blending... | Read more »
Transmit iOS (Utilities)
Transmit iOS 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: >> LAUNCH SPECIAL: Transmit iOS is ONLY $10 for a LIMITED TIME. << THE #1 FILE TRANSFER CLIENT FOR THE MAC NOW... | Read more »
Minuum - The Little Keyboard for Big Fin...
Minuum - The Little Keyboard for Big Fingers 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Type faster, see more of your screen, and take control of autocorrect with Minuum: the little... | Read more »
TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard (Utili...
TextExpander 3 + custom keyboard 3.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $4.99, Version: 3.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Swype - Keyboard (Utilities)
Swype - Keyboard 1.0.1411 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 1.0.1411 (iTunes) Description: Why type when you can Swype? One of the most requested apps for iPhone is finally here. "If Swype itself ever... | Read more »
Joinz (Games)
Joinz 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Joinz is a clever block sliding puzzle game that is easy to play, nice to look at but tricky to master. You will be coming back again... | Read more »
Little World Escape Review
Little World Escape Review By Jordan Minor on September 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: EARTHBOUNDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Little World Escape draws players in with captivating concepts before pushing them away with... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Toshiba Introduces TransMemory ID High-Speed...
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the TransMemory ID USB 3.0 Flash Drive, a simpler storage solution for people who... Read more
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Release Coming Oc...
The DailyDot’s Micah Singleton reports that Apple is planning to hold its next product announcement event on Oct. 21, at which it will unveil the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and release a final build... Read more
Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Cross-Platfor...
Logitech has an enviable track record of making some of the best computer keyboards and mice. At least in my estimation, the best freestanding keyboards I’ve ever used have been Logitech units,... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished iPad Airs and iP...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Sprint offers 16GB iPad mini for $199.99 with...
Sprint is offering 1st generation 16GB iPad minis for $199.99 with a 2-year service agreement. Standard MSRP for this iPad is $429. Their price is the lowest available for this model. Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini remains on sale for $549, sav...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro offered for $100 off M...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Free GIMP Professional Grade Graphics App Ver...
The latest 2.8.14 version of the oddly-named GIMP (acronym for: GNU Image Manipulation Program) open source, high-end image editing and creation alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop and refuge from... Read more
Apple Announces Record Pre-orders for iPhone...
Apple has released metrics showing a record number of first day pre-orders of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with over four million sold in the first 24 hours. Demand for the new iPhones exceeds the... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.