Modbook Pro

Long before the iPad, the late, great ModBook was made by converting MacBook laptops into touch-screen tablets. Now it's back in a new version, the Modbook Pro.

Dan Ackerman

Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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Years before the iPad was a twinkle in Apple's eye, there was a short-lived Apple OS X tablet. It wasn't from Apple, but instead a company called Axiotron, which took stock 13-inch white polycarbonate MacBooks, deconstructed them, and put them back together as bulky touch-screen tablets.

The original ModBook and Axiotron are long gone, but a new company, called Modbook Inc. and founded by one of the original ModBook tablet's designers, is ready to give it another shot.

The new product is the Modbook Pro, and the company calls it "the world's most powerful and largest-screen tablet computer." Like the original ModBook, the Modbook Pro is based on a rebuilt Apple laptop. In this case, it's the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The basic concept is the same: the new tablet takes a MacBook, removes the keyboard, flips the screen around over the chassis base, and adds a digitizer to the screen. Modbook describes the process:


I recall the original ModBook fondly, and this new model may fill a similar niche for users who want the full power of OS X combined with the tactile response of a tablet. Reviewing the ModBook in 2008, I said:

Besides these few details and a couple of concept photos, there's not much to go on to judge the new Modbook Pro by yet. The company says pricing will be announced in the coming weeks, and systems are expected to ship in the early fall.

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