If Apple Won't Build It, Someone Else Will

If Apple Won't Build It, Someone Else Will

If you've been waiting for Apple to produce a tablet PC that's better than those you can find in the Windows world, your wait may be over - but thank Axiotron and Other World Computing, not Apple.

 

While Macworld Expo attendees' techstosterone levels were being juiced by Apple's announcement of the impressive iPhone, another impressive piece of new hardware was being demonstrated in megavendor Other World Computing's booth (#S2218): Axiotron's ModBook, a tabletization of Apple's MacBook.

 

The ModBook, distributed exclusively by Other World Computing, is at its core an Apple MacBook, but with its display and keyboard replaced by a display that uses Wacom's Penenabled hardware - it's sensitive only to a battery-free Wacom digitizer pen (a nice touch, so that even if you rest your hand on it, the display responds only to the tip of the pen). Using Mac OS X's Inkwell handwriting-recognition technology, and taking advantage of the pen-awareness of such applications as Corel's Painter, the ModBook is akin to the PC world's Tablet PC - but measurably better, due to the fact that it's running Mac OS X.

 

The ModBook's MacBook core also means that it's equipped with either a Combo Drive or SuperDrive - capabilities that are well-nigh impossible to find in the Tablet PC market. Add to that its handwriting recognition, iSight-enabled video iChat, DVD movie watching - even an optional GPS unit based on the SiRF III chipset - and you've got one sweet lil' maxi-tablet. Ah, the Mac community beats the Windows world's scrawny lil' hiney yet again.

 

The ModBook's keyboardlessness is no accident. Axiotron's head honcho, Andreas Haas, was formerly in Apple's Newton group - apparently he hasn't given up on the idea of a keyboard-free world. As Haas said, "If your favorite input device is the pen, this is the Mac for you."

 

The entry-level ModBook is based on a 1.83GHz Core Duo MacBook, and is priced at $2,279 (an introductory discount to $2,199 [big whoop] is available until January 31st). Other configurations include ModBooks with 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 160GB and 200GB hard drives, and more - prices were not available at the time this article was posted.

 

Not all new - and droolworthy - Apple-based hardware comes from Cupertino.

 

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john Murphy

How do we get the software that allows us to us any computer with finger or pen? Who makes it-why doesnt Apple sell it?

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kchamp

My wife teaches high school math. She's set up with an infocus projector hooked up to a pc-tablet. The things she can do are remarkable, way better than the chalkboard. We love the Macs and their OS but there is no tablet laptop - until now. The price is steep for a teacher and no keyboard? Watching with interest.

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MarcusAurelius

Can anyone say whether you can hook up an external keyboard or usb device. How about all the other external plugs? Are they all the same as the orig MacBook or blocked or what? Some of us like options, options and more options!

Anybody seen this thing that can speak to the question?

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Joel

This is exactly what I've been waiting for. I've been wanting Mac, or someone, to come out with a Mac Tablet and now that they have, I just purchased a MacBook Pro a little over a month ago.

Woe is me.

Don't get me wrong, I love my MacBook Pro, but I've really been longing for a Mac Tablet.

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RtF

I have wanted a tablet Mac for a long time. I do a lot of demos and would love to be able to draw with ease and use my finger/pen to navigate. However im not reading too much on what it really can do. We need more details. GPS is cool, but what can we do with it? I need a hands on demo. I hope i will find them in stores or at least find more detailed info out there on application use. I dont care about pen writing and input as much as draw and navigation.

I think apple has really missed a needy market in passing on the Tablet.

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Digital Skunk

I am not too sure about this device. There isn't much benefit from a tablet over a regular laptop.

You can write on the screen... okay what else...

Other than GPS. Most tablets don't have breakthrough tech that justify the higher price. And this ModBook is about $1000 more than a regular MacBook. I can save the extra cash and do some unbelieveable things.

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