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)

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Parallels Desktop 13.2.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
VueScan 9.5.92 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
iFinance 4.3.4 - Comprehensively manage...
iFinance allows you to keep track of your income and spending -- from your lunchbreak coffee to your new car -- in the most convenient and fastest way. Clearly arranged transaction lists of all your... Read more
jAlbum Pro 15.0 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. You can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly... Read more
jAlbum 15.0 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results - Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Duet 1.6.9.3 - Use your iPad as an exter...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $14.99 iOS companion app. Version 1.6.9.3:... Read more
Duet 1.6.9.3 - Use your iPad as an exter...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $14.99 iOS companion app. Version 1.6.9.3:... Read more
iExplorer 4.1.10 - View and transfer fil...
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
iExplorer 4.1.10 - View and transfer fil...
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
Adobe InCopy CC 2018 13.0.1.207 - Create...
InCopy CC 2018 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous InCopy customer). Adobe InCopy CC 2018, ideal for large team projects... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Mighty Battles guide - how to build a so...
Mighty Battles, the latest title from Hothead Games, is set to take the App Store by storm. The game puts a welcome twist on lane battlers, adding FPS elements to spice things up a bit. You'll collect cards to put your own military unit to gether,... | Read more »
Rules of Survival guide - how to be the...
The PUBG craze makes its way to mobile, with more and more battle royale games debuting on iOS and Android. Rules of Survival joins the ranks of mobile PUBG-likes, offering a classic battle royale experiences that doesn't vary too much from its... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
The weekend is upon us friends, and it's time to take a look back and reflect on all of the wonderful games we've played over the past few days. This week was jam packed with new releases. There were some big, long awaited launches, some fun... | Read more »
Lineage II: Revolution guide - tips and...
At long last, Lineage II: Revolution has now come to western shores, bring Netmarble's sweeping MMORPG to mobile devices. It's an addictive, epic experience, but some of the systems in the game can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help... | Read more »
A Boy and His Blob (Games)
A Boy and His Blob 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Fight terrible monsters and collect epic...
Released on Western markets early last month, Dragon Project, created by Japanese developer COLOPL, brings epic monster hunting action to mobile for the very first time. Collect a huge array of weapons and armor, and join up with friends to fight... | Read more »
I Am The Hero (Games)
I Am The Hero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: I Am The Hero is a pixel art, beat 'em up, fighting game that tells the story of a "Hero" with a glorious but mysterious past.... | Read more »
Kauldron (Music)
Kauldron 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Kauldron is our warmest sounding, punchiest synth yet! A completely new modeling technology, combined with carefully designed... | Read more »
Lineage II: Revolution is mobile’s bigge...
NCSoft’s hit fantasy MMORPG series has just made the leap to mobile with the help of Netmarble in Lineage II: Revolution. With over 1.5 million players having already pre-registered ahead of the game’s launch, Revolution hit the app stores... | Read more »
Swing skilfully in new physics-based pla...
Sometimes it’s the most difficult of obstacles that can be the most rewarding. One game hoping to prove this is OCMO, the new tough but fair platformer from developers Team Ocmo. Primed to set every speedrunner’s pulse racing, as an otherworldly... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $180 with Apple Certified Refurbis...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air (... Read more
Black Friday deals on Apple Macs now live at...
Amazon has MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, MacBooks, and iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP for Black Friday week. Shipping is free. Note that stock of some Macs may come and go during the week, so... Read more
Black Friday pricing on Macs and iPads now av...
B&H Photo has lowered prices on many Macs, iPads, and iPad Pros as part of their Black Friday week sale. Save up to $200 on MacBooks and iMacs and up to $150 on iPads. B&H charges sales tax... Read more
Best Apple iPad deals this weekend, up to $80...
Apple resellers are offering 9.7″ iPads and 10.5″ iPad Pros for up to $80 off MSRP this weekend as part of their early Holiday and Black Friday sales: Adorama is offering new 2017 9.7″ 32GB WiFi... Read more
Early Black Friday sale: Apple iMacs for up t...
B&H Photo has 27-inch iMacs in stock and on sale for up $130-$150 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2149 $150 off... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis starting...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Save on 12″ MacBooks, Apple refurbished model...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Early Holiday sale: 12″ iPad Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has 12″ iPad Pros on sale today for up to $130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H collects no sales tax outside NY & NJ: – 12″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749, save $50 – 12″ 256GB... Read more
Holiday sale prices on Apple 13″ MacBook Pros...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100-$150 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro... Read more
Sale: 13″ MacBook Airs starting at $899, $100...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Product Manager - *Apple* Pay on the *Appl...
Job Summary Apple is looking for a talented product manager to drive the expansion of Apple Pay on the Apple Online Store. This position includes a unique Read more
*Apple* Pro/Consumer Apps Support Engineer -...
…exemplify AppleCare's expert technical support paired with exceptional customer service for Apple 's software apps. This person is a problem solver, who understands Read more
Partner Marketing Manager, *Apple* Pay - Ap...
Job Summary The Apple Pay partner marketing team is looking for a Marketing Manager to develop and drive US programs. The right candidate will be passionate about Read more
*Apple* Solution Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solution Consultant - Rochester, MN Job Number: 113037950 Rochester, MN, Minnesota, United States Posted: 19-Sep-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.