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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Axiotron Modbook :The One and Only Tablet Mac

Designed in California by Axiotron’s team of German and American engineers, the Modbook™ is at its core an after-market hardware modification to standard off-the-shelf Apple® MacBook™ systems, converting them into high-end slate-style tablet computers. With its condensed form factor and integrated pen-based user experience the Axiotron Modbook is the ultimate companion for applications and situations where a keyboard only gets in the way.

Built for mobile users, artists, students and professionals, the Modbook enables its user to draw and write directly on the screen, while the handwriting recognition built into Mac OS® X Tiger not only turns hand scribbles into text in every application, but also provides extended control of the system through gesture recognition. The Modbook comes standard with a built-in iSight™ camera and an integrated CD/DVD combo drive that can be upgraded to a 8.5 GB DVD burner, and it is the only portable Mac solution that also features an optional built-in Global Positioning System (GPS).

When the Going Gets Tough
Both the Modbook’s top shell and the interior display frame are built from top grade, aircraft quality magnesium alloy, giving the Modbook superior structural strength for almost every situation.

Its satin textured top shell is plated with chrome over a set of copper and nickel layers. This provides for an extremely scratch resistant and aesthetically pleasing surface, while also offering optimum protection against oxidation.

Both the LCD panel and the builtin iSight™ camera are protected by replaceable screen covers made from chemically strengthened ForceGlass™. Compared to cheaper non-glass-based solutions found in most tablet computers, Axiotron ForceGlass provides superior optical and aging properties as well as far improved scratch resistance.

The display screen cover has been treated on both sides for optimized optical properties. The LCD facing (in)side features an anti-reflective coating to increase the light transmissivity for a brighter image. The user facing (out)side has been acid treated to achieve an etched surface, carefully calibrated to match the display resolution. This provides for a crisp, paper-like writing sensation, while keeping perceived haze and light refractions to a minimum.

State-of-the-Art Pen Input
The Axiotron Modbook is built using the unique digitizer technology from WACOM®, the industry leader in graphics tablets for professional artists and consumers. The Modbook pen digitizer is

Fast - 133 position updates per second
Accurate - 20x display resolution
Sensitive - 512 pressure levels *NEW*
Efficient - No batteries required

The included Modbook Digitizer Pen features 2 programmable side buttons plus an eraser, and ships with 3 different types of replaceable pen tips, which if used on the acid etched surface of the Axiotron ForceGlass™ offer a wider range of drawing styles and sensations. The Pencil Nib, the most durable nib, is most commonly used in pen tablets and TabletPCs today and provides a very hard and direct drawing feel. The Studio Nib is the default tip in the Modbook Digitizer Pen and essentially a spring-loaded variation of the Pencil Nib, offering a different feel in controlling the 512 pressure levels. The Felt Nib's marker-type material maximizes friction on the Modbook's acid etched ForceGlass™ surface, resulting in what is said to be the most paper-like drawing experience.

Requiring no batteries or magnets, the pen always feels light and nimble and due to the radio-based digitizer technology, users can even write with their hand resting on the screen. This technology also allows the cursor to be controlled while the pen is hovering over the screen, providing for an intuitive, mouse-like interface with a zero learning curve.

The ModBook is fully compatible with Apple’s Inkwell, a Mac OS® X Tiger feature that provides system level handwriting and gesture recognition instantly to all Mac applications.

Global Positioning System
The Modbook is the only portable Mac solution that features an optional built-in Global Positioning System (GPS). The optional Axiotron Modbook GPS Module is based on the industry leading SiRFstarTM III chipset for faster first location fix times and improved tracking capabilities in challenging urban and outdoor environments.

Because Looks Do Matter
The Modbook is equipped with a new and improved Axiotron AnyView™ LCD panel offering wider viewing angles (Horiz./Vert.: 100°/90° vs. 90°/55°) and a higher contrast ratio (500:1 vs. 400:1) for darker blacks and stronger, more saturated, lush colors, while maintaining the same resolution (1280x800 pixel) and aspect ratio (113 ppi) of the original MacBook™ display. The included Modbook ColorSync™ profile offers a solid base calibration which can be adjusted or replaced using the Mac OS X Tiger display calibration tools.

Built-in iSight Camera
While the Modbook utilizes the original iSight camera of the MacBook base system, it is mounted slightly tilted downwards to better frame the face of the user.

Wireless Connectivity
With built in 802.11 a/b/g/n capabilities, the Modbook connects to the fastest AirPort Extreme networks at home or in the office, as well as to any WiFi Hot Spots or networks on the road.

The also built-in Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity supports a wide range of external peripherals such as keyboards, mice, trackballs, cell phones and headseats.

Built-in CD/DVD or DVD Burner
The Modbook is the only slate-style tablet computer with an internal CD/DVD combo drive, which in addition can be upgraded to a 6x DVD burner with up to 8.5 GB capacity. In combination with its 13.3” wide screen LCD, this also earns the Modbook the title of “Largest Screen Portable DVD Entertainment System”.

Built-in Mounting Locks
Inconspicuous locking points, designed into the magnesium top shell, allow the Modbook to be securely placed in optional multi-functional mounts i.e. for use with VESA compatible desktop arms.

Warranty and Warranty Extensions
Converting an Apple MacBook into a tablet Mac® using the Axiotron Modbook conversion kit is best performed by a trained technician and will void the original Apple MacBook warranty. The Axiotron Modbook is therefore exclusively assembled and manufactured by Axiotron Authorized System Manufacturers (AASM) who not only perform the conversion, but also include a comprehensive 1 year warranty covering the complete solution. Every AASM also offers optional 2 year warranty extension plans, providing added ease of mind.

ModBook tablet Mac finally ships
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.

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