Some time ago I wrote about the long anticipated tablet Mac finally having become a reality thanks to Axiotron. They have created a modification package that turns an Apple MacBook into a tablet based computer… it’s like having a Cintiq monitor combined with a laptop in one contained unit. Here’s a video I ran across recently demoing this new unit with Axiotron’s leader and some artists doing work on it:
It’s great they have a comic book artist doing the demo, and a nice portrait of the reporter… too bad they didn’t say his last name. The show apparently is a local one from Hawaii.
This is something that is very enticing for me. Last week I hauled my 21 inch Cintiq all the way to St. Louis because I had to finish up a parody for MAD and I was on the color stage. It would have been nearly impossible to do that had I not been driving, as the Cintiq is big, heavy and delicate. Commercial transport is basically impossible. I would have needed to bring my Intous tablet with me and done it that way were I not driving with room in my back seat for the Cintiq. It certainly would have taken me far longer and been a lot harder to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish on the Intous, particularly since I am so used to working on the Cintiq these days.
Using the new 12 inch Cintiq for travel is an option, but it’s not truly portable either. It has a big brick of a transformer, needs AC power and has a thick, heavy dual cable coming from the back. You also need the laptop to make it work, so it’s a full suitcase of stuff and a full desktop of space needed. On the plus side it does have 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and all the features of the big Cintiq including tilt sensitivity and the shortcut keys.
The “Modbook”, as it’s called, was very intriguing as it is truly portable. It’s a full MacBook computer with all the ports, drives etc…. just no keyboard. It can run on battery power alone (although doubtless not for long) and uses the simple apple power cord when running on AC. The cord, Modbook and pen is all you need. Easy to take out and start scribbling.
I was seriously considering getting one, but after asking some questions i decided it’s just not quite right yet. Here are my reasons for reservation:
- Only 512 levels of pressure sensitivity- That might seem like plenty but after using a Cintiq with 1024 levels it is a step backward.
- No tilt sensitivity- Axiotron told me in order to do tilt sensivity, they would have had to add to the size of the tablet (but not the screen) making it cumbersome. Tilt is not really needed for what I usually do but I do use it when doing more painted stuff, which this would not do.
- Can’t use the Cintiq pen- I love the feel of the Cintiq’s pen, but you have to use the skinny, hard pen that comes with the Modbook… Axiotron cited “battery life” as the reason for this.
- No side function keys- This isn’t a dealbreaker, but I love those things. I also use my keyboard a lot to switch tools, set opacity, etc, but a bluetooth keyboard would fix that part.
- It’s a MacBook, not a MacBook Pro- If they can do it to a MacBook, they should be able to do it to a MacBook Pro. It was silly of them to base it on the smallest MacBook when they have ben quoted as saying they are pursuing the graphic artist market, 99% of which use a Pro for the better screen size and power.
- Too new a technology- Sorry but I seldom buy the first model of anything, especially a complex and expensive thing like a computer. No doubt the second generation will have better features and technology… maybe solving all the issues listed above.
So the Modbook is not on my wish list. Maybe Modbook 2.0? We’ll see. Here are some other videos showing the Modbook in action:
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