ModBook tablet Mac finally ships

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Axiotron has announced that it is delivering the ModBook, its tablet Macintosh, almost a year after first unveiling the product at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, in January, 2007. The ModBook is priced at $2,279 or $2,479 depending on configuration.

Starting with a stock Apple MacBook laptop, Axiotron has designed a new case and a new input system, eschewing the keyboard and trackpad instead for a stylus input that enables users to write directly on the screen. It's the first pen tablet-based Mac.

The screen features 512 levels of pressure sensitivity -- twice what PC-compatible tablet computers offer and twice what Axiotron originally announced for the ModBook when it was introduced in January, 2007. The screen also features a scratch-resistant surface that has higher viewing angles and a higher contrast ratio than the original display. Axiotron calls the screen surface "ForceGlass," and says that the combination of the acid-etched surface and the special nibs included with the stylus provide a pen or pencil-on-paper tactile experience.

Axiotron worked with Wacom Technologies to develop the pen input system used on the ModBook. It also works with Inkwell, Apple's handwriting recognition software built in to the operating system.

Since the ModBook was first announced in 2007, the MacBook upon which it's based has undergone some changes, and so has the operating system. The MacBook is faster and Tiger has been replaced with Leopard. Axiotron has kept up with the times -- all ModBooks, including those that were ordered prior to the introduction of the new MacBooks, have been upgraded to the new hardware spec, and Leopard is installed too.

Under the hood is the MacBook's 2.0 or 2.2GHz microprocessor, Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics, 24x DVD/CD-R "Combo" drive or 8x "SuperDrive, and support for up to 4GB RAM. The ModBook retains 802.11n wireless networking capability, Bluetooth 2.0 support, the Apple Remote, and all of the MacBook's original ports. Axiotron has also migrated the MacBook's iSight webcam, repositioning it to make it more suitable to the pen tablet design. Global Positioning System (GPS) is also supported.

The ModBook case is made from magnesium alloy along with nickel over copper topped with chrome, and is scratch-resistant. It's available in either satin or mirror finishes. The case also integrates mounting locks, so you place the ModBook in VESA-compatible display mounts and desktop arms.

Axiotron's authorized system manufacturers -- in the United States, Other World Computing (OWC) -- offer a one-year warranty, with an optional two-year warranty available.

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