Mac OS X on a tablet. Sound interesting? Los Angeles-based startup Modbook Inc. hopes you'll think so. The company intends to release its own tablet running Mac OS X, but there's one detail which makes these tablets especially fascinating: the devices are actually 13-inch Macbook Pros which have been converted into tablet form.
In 2008, a company named Axiotron had an identical idea that went by the same name: Modbook. However, when global financial uncertainty hit consumers -- and let's not forget the iPad, either -- Axiotron was pressured to close its doors. Modbook Inc. is actually the rebirth of Axiotron, according to CEO Andreas Haas, creator of the Modbook.
"When I started Axiotron, we had a great team and the company was fine. We had a great run until we went public—two weeks later, Lehman Brothers went belly up and took us down along with the financial system. Access to capital was a huge problem," Haas told Ars. "In order for me to continue on my vision of creating a tablet computer for the creative industry, the only way to do it was to create a new company."
So, how does it work? All Modbook Pros start with a shiny 13-inch Macbook Pro. The company removes the display and flips it upside down, facing it outward. It's nestled atop the base while the company adds a pressure-sensitive Wacom digitizer and securely houses it all inside their own, custom conversion kit.
One result is certain: you can bet it won't be as light as an iPad. Bear in mind though, the Modbook Pro is aimed at professionals -- digital artists, for example, who can make use of the tablet's raw horsepower and pressure-sensitive digitizer. This isn't your mom's tablet.
Although legal problems plagued Psystar's business of installing Mac OS X on PC hardware, Modbook treads slightly different territory. With the Modbook Pro, we have a genuine Macbook legitimately running Mac OS X. The laptop is merely being repurposed, repackaged and resold. When asked about legal issues, Haas said Axiotron never had troubles with Apple. In fact, Haas claims Apple even solicited him to become a "proprietary solution provider" once they discovered the Modbook back in 2008.
No price has been set as of yet, but Modbook Inc. is advertising a September launch date. The tablet comes equipped with a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 CPU (upgradable to an i7 @ 2.9GHz), up to 16GB of RAM, Intel HD4000 graphics and a choice between a 1TB HDD or 960GB SSD. The Modbook Pro also includes a DVD-RW.