Modbook Pro X turns a Retina MacBook into a convertible 2-in-1
July 30, 2014
Do you ever look at all of those Windows 2-in-1s and wish you could only have one that runs Apple software? Well, the creative folks at Modbook are at it again, this time taking the guts of the newest Retina MacBook Pro and turning it into something akin to a giant OS X-running Surface on steroids.
Meet the Modbook Pro X, a descendant of the Modbook Pro. What on earth is this Franken-Mac? Well, it takes a dismantled 15-in MacBook Pro with Retina display, squeezes it into a tablet form factor, then adds a pen and detachable keyboard base. With Apple showing no signs of entering the 2-in-1 game anytime soon, this might be the closest you get to an Apple-made Surface Pro rival.
The accompanying Wacom-based digitizer pen has 2,048 pressure levels, two programmable switches on its side and a digital eraser. The detachable keyboard stand, meanwhile, adjusts dynamically (much like a standard laptop) at any angle between 30 and 90 degrees. Though Modbook CEO Andreas Haas says that the Pro X is for "everyone," this is clearly aimed at artists and other creative professionals who use pen-based tablets for things 3D modeling or photo/video editing.
So how does Modbook get away with selling custom-built machines that run OS X? Is Apple suddenly selling software licenses to third-party vendors? Nope. The Modbook is 100 percent legit, as it buys MacBooks from Apple at full retail, modifies them for its niche audience and sells them at a markup. And for its new Kickstarter campaign for the new model, the company will even transform your own Retina MacBook Pro into a Modbook Pro X (you know, so you're only paying US$2,000, instead of $4,000).
The Modbook Pro X will use the guts of the latest 15-in Retina MacBooks, meaning it will have the same 15.4-in screen with ultra-sharp 2,880 x 1,800 resolution. Like the Retina MacBook you'd buy from Apple, it will start with a speedy 2.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. Also like Apple, Modbook will let you configure those specs (for a price, of course) to put a little extra horsepower under the hood.
The Pro X has a lot in common with the last Modbook Pro, but this is the first time the company has worked its magic on a high-resolution MacBook display. It's also the first foray into 15-in territory, as the older models got their guts from 13-in MacBooks. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is that Modbooks void Apple's warranty. Fortunately Modbook offers up its own warranty to take its place.
Another handy addition is the device's "Eyes-Free Keybars." These keys sit on the back of the tablet (see above), giving you quick access to common keyboard shortcuts like Cmd-T (quick transform in Photoshop), Cmd-space (Spotlight search) and the like. The keys are customizable, and there will also be a series of onscreen keys that fire up to let you know exactly which keys your fingers are fondling.
The Modbook Pro X is live on Kickstarter, with 39 days left to raise $150,000. Backers pledging $2,000 or more can transform their own 15-in Retina MacBook (late 2013 or later) into a Pro X. You'll need to pledge $4,000 or more to get the device without handing over your own notebook – and that doesn't include the keyboard stand.
Contrary to the Modbook CEO's claims, the Pro X most definitely isn't for everyone. But if you're among the niche audience of creative pros angling for something like this, you can find out more in the video below