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
$118.63
Apple Inc.
+2.16
MSFT
$47.59
Microsoft Corpora
-0.39
GOOG
$539.27
Google Inc.
+1.77

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Carbon Copy Cloner 4.0.3 - 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
ForeverSave 2.1.3 - Universal auto-save...
ForeverSave auto-saves all documents you're working on while simultaneously doing backup versioning in the background. Lost data can be quickly restored at any time. Losing data, caused by... Read more
Voila 3.8.1 - Capture, annotate, organiz...
Voila is a screen-capture, recording, and annotation tool that is a full-featured replacement for Mac's screen-capture and screen-recording capabilities. It has a large and robust set of editing,... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.0.6 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.1.1 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
Cobook 3.0.7 - Intelligent address book....
Cobook Contacts is an intuitive, engaging address book. Solve the problem of contact management with Cobook Contacts and its simple interface and powerful syncing and integration possibilities.... Read more
StatsBar 1.9 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Evernote 6.0.1 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is C...
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Dragopolis 2.0 is Coming to iOS December 4th Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] So Much Drama | Read more »
Crimson Keyboard (Utilities)
Crimson Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing a faster way to type. Crimson Keyboard adapts to your writing style and provides smart, personal and contextual... | Read more »
The Sandbox EDU Review
The Sandbox EDU Review By Nadia Oxford on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: COME PLAY IN THE SANDBOX AGAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Like its predecessor, The Sandbox EDU offers lots for players to see, do, and... | Read more »
Taichi Panda Hits iOS in December
Taichi Panda Hits iOS in December Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Snail Games has released the first official game play trailer for  | Read more »
Five Apps to Make Your Thanksgiving Plan...
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! You know what that means? Eating too much turkey, watching the Big Game, and spending time with family (whether you like it or not). Oh, and that scary Black Friday thing, but we won’t talk about that here. For those... | Read more »
Kingdom Rush Origins HD Review
Kingdom Rush Origins HD Review By Jennifer Allen on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: JUST AS GOOD AS BEFOREiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad It’s more of the same again, but that’s really no bad thing at all.   | Read more »
Skylanders, Show Off How You Fight Kaos...
Skylanders, Show Off How You Fight Kaos to Win Cool Prizes Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad | Read more »
Mark of the Dragon – Tips, Tricks, and S...
Calling All Dragon Riders: | Read more »
Playdek has Annouced a Delicious Thanksg...
Playdek has Annouced a Delicious Thanksgiving Sale Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Playdek, makers of | Read more »
Pair Solitaire Review
Pair Solitaire Review By Jennifer Allen on November 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADDICTIVE. SO ADDICTIVEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Welcome to your new ‘five more minutes, oh no, why is it dark outside’ addiction.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Jumptuit Launches One-Tap Windows 8.1 iTunes...
Jumptuit has launched Windows 8.1 support for One-Tap iTunes Sync. with which Windows 8.1 users can now easily sync their iTunes libraries with Microsoft OneDrive. Jumptuit provides easy access from... Read more
CEA Study Finds More People Recycling Electro...
A new study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) finds that electronics recycling receives the continued and growing support of consumers. According to the CEA,s Recycling and Reuse Study,... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $17...
 B&H Photo has the 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale today for $1749. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on...
 B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979, save $1...
B&H Photo has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $979.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has lowered their price on the 13″ 1.4GHz/256GB MacBook Air to $1059.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $140 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this... Read more
Save up to $400 with Apple refurbished 2014 1...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping... Read more
New 13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $8...
 Adorama has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook... Read more
Apple Expected to Reverse Nine-Month Tablet S...
Apple and Samsung combined accounted for 62 percent of the nearly 36 million branded tablets shipped in 3Q 2014, according to early vendor shipment share estimates from market intelligence firm ABI... Read more
Stratos: 30 Percent of US Smartphone Owners t...
Stratos, Inc., creator of the Bluetooth Connected Card Platform, has announced results from its 2014 Holiday Mobile Payments Survey. The consumer survey found that nearly one out of three (30 percent... 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* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.