Tablet PCs and Mac Users (Part IV of V)

May 22, 2008

Apple LogoI use both Mac and PC and don’t look upon either as a religious platform.  Having the ability to access both operating systems on a Mac via virtual machine software like Parallels and VMware Fusion is not only pure bliss but it means I’m almost always tethered to the Mac…accept when it comes to screenwriting. The Tablet PC is such a useful tool when it comes to writing that I cannot abandon the technology solely for Mac.

The Creative Community Cries a River
“Why Jobs, why hast thow forsaken us!?”  Dry your eyes creative folk lest you short-circuit your keyboards. But take note Jobs – given that a large part of the creative community are Mac users, Apple may have been better off  to go the “tablet” route vs. the “Air” route. 

Rumor Mill
Apple has had inking technology available since before they introduced the Newton in 1993, so is there a Mac tablet in the works?  The last thing the planet needs is another blog permeating Mac tablet rumors. Google the topic and you’ll find no dearth of blogs, images and even videos musing over what could be. The only fact amongst it all is – there is no Mac tablet made by Apple.  However all hope is not lost.


Introducing the Modbook
Axiotron, a company out of El Segundo, CA produces what they call a ModBook.  A ModBook is a MacBook that has been modified into a tablet.  They have removed the keyboard, replaced the screen with a Wacom display and laid the display over the CPU, located under the keyboard of a MacBook.

inkBook on ModBookLitCentral recently attended the Society for Information Display (SID) 2008 and I got a chance to handle the ModBook.  My first impressions of the hardware were great.  It’s durable, has a bright screen, and the digitizer responds well to speed and pressure.

 While hardware is important, it means nothing without good software. Having been on a Windows Tablet PC since 2005, OS X software for the Modbook simply pales in comparison. The inkBook note taking software which lets you use a tablet and InkWell handwriting recognition technology (native to OS X) to write notes is no comparison to OneNote. This is understandable as the baby Modbook was just recently born into the tablet world, and over the years Microsoft has thrown millions of dollars into OneNote. 

ModBook Right for Writers?
It is a pure slate and for that reason alone I cannot recommend the Modbook for writers who are mobile.  However, if you’re anchored to your desk and are willing to run Windows virtually on a Mac go for it!  Running Vista via Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMware Fusion opens Modbook users up to the abundance of software available for the Tablet PC.

ModBook Benefits:


  • Durable screen and hardware
  • Great digitizer (512 levels of sensitivity)
  • Bright Screen
  • Mac OS X


  • Limited software
  • Expensive  (starting @ $2,290)
  • Poor handwriting recognition
  • Text input

For an indepth look at the ModBook take a look at Rob Bushway’s review at Gottabemobile.


Five-Part Series

Tablet PCs – A Writer’s Infinite Desktop (Part I of V)

Tablet PCs – Choosing the Perfect Form Factor for Writers (Part II of V)

Tablet PCs and OneNote – The Writer’s Never-Ending Notebook and Research File (Part III of V)

Tablet PCs and Mac Users (Part IV of V)

 A Wrap-up – Tablet PCs – A Writer’s Infinite Desktop (Part V of V)


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