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

Chromium 45.0.2454.85 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 45.0.2454.85: Note: Does not contain the "... Read more
OmniFocus 2.2.5 - GTD task manager with...
OmniFocus helps you manage your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Capturing tasks and ideas is always a keyboard shortcut away in... Read more
iFFmpeg 5.7.1 - 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
VOX 2.6 - Music player that supports man...
VOX is a beautiful music player that supports many filetypes. The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all... Read more
Box Sync 4.0.6567 - Online synchronizati...
Box Sync gives you a hard-drive in the Cloud for online storage. Note: You must first sign up to use Box. What if the files you need are on your laptop -- but you're on the road with your iPhone? No... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.4 - Easy-to-use b...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.3.1 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
Monosnap 3.1.2 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap lets you capture screenshots, share files, and record video and .gifs! Capture: Capture full screen, just part of the screen, or a selected window Make your crop area pixel perfect with... Read more
Alfred 2.7.2 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.19 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more

We're Sorry to Report that Moonrise...
Moonrise is a very promising-looking, Pokemon-esque monster collecting and battling game that we were really looking forward to reviewing, but unfortunately it looks like that's never going to happen. [Read more] | Read more »
The Latest Update for The Sims FreePlay...
Commerce has gotten a little more active with the newest update for The Sims FreePlay, making Sunset Mall more of a hangout than ever before. [Read more] | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: August 24-28, 2015
The Apps of August With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out... | Read more »
NASCAR in Real Racing 3? Sure, Why Not?
I have to give Firemonkeys credit - it's very cool of them to add NASCAR to Real Racing 3 via an update rather than making a separate game for it. But that's a different discussion for another time; for now let's sit back and enjoy driving in... | Read more »
The nuyu is an Inexpensive Activity Moni...
Today, Health o Meter nuyu has announced a series of health and fitness-related products, including the aforementioned activity monitor along with a wireless scale. All at a decent pricepoint, no less. [Read more] | Read more »
The Makers of Overkill are Trying Someth...
Craneballs, the studio responsible for the Overkill series, is taking a little break from all that violence (a little break) to bring us Cube Worm - a 3D take on one of the most classic PC/calculator games in existence. [Read more] | Read more »
The Sandbox Welcomes Cutethulu in its La...
Another month, another update to Pixowl's The Sandbox. This time players can say hello to "Cutethulu" - an adorable little rendition of perhaps the most well known (and infamous) of the Elder Gods. [Read more] | Read more »
ReBoard: Revolutionary Keyboard (Utilit...
ReBoard: Revolutionary Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Do everything within the keyboard without switching apps! If you are in WhatsApp, how do you schedule a... | Read more »
Tiny Empire (Games)
Tiny Empire 1.1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.1.3 (iTunes) Description: Launch cannonballs and blow tiny orcs into thousands of pieces in this intuitive fantasy-themed puzzle shooter! Embark on an... | Read more »
Astropad Mini (Productivity)
Astropad Mini 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** 50% off introductory price! ​*** Get the high-end experience of a Wacom tablet at a fraction of the price with Astropad... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

eFileCabinet Announces SMB Document Managemen...
Electronic document management (EDM) eFileCabinet, Inc., a hosted solutions provider for small to medium businesses, has announced that its SecureDrawer and eFileCabinet Online services will be... Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils American-Made, All...
San Francisco’s WaterField Designs today unveiled their all-leather Cozmo 2.0 — an elegant attach laptop bag with carefully-designed features to suit any business environment. The Cozmo 2.0 is... Read more
Apple’s 2015 Back to School promotion: Free B...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP,...
B&H Photo has 11″ & 13″ MacBook Airs with 128GB SSDs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air: $799.99, $100 off MSRP... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679, save $...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Apple and Cisco Partner to Deliver Fast-Lane...
Apple and Cisco have announced a partnership to create a “fast lane” for iOS business users by optimizing Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The alliance integrates iPhone with Cisco enterprise... Read more
Apple offering refurbished 2015 13-inch Retin...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $270 (15%) off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Apple refurbished 2015 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 11″ and 13″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 1.4GHz iMac: $999.99 $100 off - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off - 21″ 2.9GHz iMac... Read more

Jobs Board

Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Repair Techn...
Simply Mac is the greatest premier retailer of Apple products expertise in North America. We're looking for dedicated individuals to provide personalized service and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the greatest premier retailer of Apple products expertise in North America. We're looking for dedicated individuals to provide personalized service and Read more
*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…field and consistent professional recruiting achievement. Job Description: Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Read more
Simply Mac- *Apple* Specialist- Store Manag...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer for Apple products and solutions. We're looking for dedicated individuals with a passion to simplify and enhance the Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.