The Axiotron Modbook, a modified MacBook-tablet combo was sold in 2009. It was a slate-style tablet that enabled users to draw, sketch and write directly on the screen, cleverly combining a MacBook laptop with an industry standard Wacom graphics tablet.
The Modbook has been revived. A new pro version will be available this spring.
Modbook creator Andreas Haas claims that despite the popularity of the iPad (which launched in 2010, around the time the Modbook fell off the radar) there is a market for the Modbook. He told Arstechnica: “Finger painting is fun when you’re five years old. But when you start getting into it, you’re going to pick up a pen.”
Haas blames the recession rather than the iPad for Axiotron’s disappearance. Two weeks after Axiotron went public, ”Lehman Brothers went belly up and took us down along with the financial system,” he claimed. Haas has salvaged what he could from Axiotron and started up a new (privately funded) company now.
He also claims that there were never any legal issues with Apple. Some had speculated that Apple was responsible for the disappearance of the company. On the contrary, Haas claims: “As soon as the ModBook came out, Apple came to us and asked us to become a proprietary solution provider. “That didn’t end up working out, but we were moved to a developer contract. We are now an Apple ‘developer’ and we have a great working relationship.”
In fact, prior to Axiotron, Haas was a part of Apple’s Newton Systems Group, notes Haas, according to a Engadget report. He said: “When I joined that group I actually wanted to see the pen on the Mac, because I remember there was a development unit that was shown to Andy Warhol to draw on a Mac and he just loved it. I always felt, that is what I wanted to do”.
The 13.3in Modbook Pro, referred to by the company as “the world’s most powerful and largest-screen tablet computer,” is slated to ship early this spring.