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How does the original iPad compare to the Axiotron ModBook? Which one is best for my needs?
Please note that the original iPad and this ModBook both have been discontinued. However, this Q&A still may be useful particularly for one considering either model on the used market.
Based on e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook messages received, some readers were hoping that Apple would release a more full-featured "Mac Tablet" running Mac OS X rather than the relatively simple iPhone OS-based iPad.
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (iPad)
For these users, the Axiotron ModBook may be of particular interest. The ModBook is a pre-"Unibody" MacBook that has been modified into a tablet form factor. It has a chemically hardened glass screen and a magnesium alloy outer frame overlaying a Wacom digitizer with "512 levels of pen pressure sensitivity."
The keyboard is removed during the modification process and input is conducted via a stylus instead. For text input, the ModBook comes preinstalled with Axiotron "Quickscript" handwriting recognition software.
Photo Credit: Axiotron Corp. (ModBook)
The iPad has a 9.7" 1024x768 LED-backlit IPS glossy touchscreen display with an onscreen "soft" keyboard (and a US$69 keyboard dock option), runs iPhone OS 3.2 (it cannot run Mac OS X applications), and has the option of 3G wireless and A-GPS. For connectivity, it only has a 30-pin USB-based iPod dock port and a headphone jack as well as a built-in speaker and microphone. No other ports are available and it lacks a webcam, but it does include a digital compass.
Because the ModBook can be created from a number of "White or Black" MacBook models -- all of those released prior to the "Unibody" models on October 20, 2009, with the exception of the Aluminum MacBook "Core 2 Duo" 2.0 (Unibody) and 2.4 (Unibody) -- the technical specifications can vary dramatically, but in general, the ModBook has the same capabilities as the underlying notebook with the exception of keyboard input.
In contrast to the iPad, all ModBook models have 13.3" 1280x800 LED-backlit glossy widescreen displays. They run Mac OS X but are not compatible with iPhone OS applications nor do they have 3G wireless or digital compass capabilities (by custom configuration Axiotron does offer GPS capability). Connectivity varies, but all include a complement of ports. All include webcams as well.
|Display Size:||9.7" (1024x768)||13.3" (1280x800)|
|Input Method:||Onscreen/Keyboard Dock||Onscreen/Handwriting|
|OS:||iPhone OS 3.2||Mac OS X 10.5/10.6.x|
|Processor Speed:||1 GHz||2.13 GHz|
|Processor Type:||Apple A4||Intel Core 2 Duo|
|Standard RAM:||Unknown||2 GB (6 GB Max)|
|Storage:||16, 32, 64 GB||160 GB|
|Optical Drive:||None||8X DL SuperDrive|
|Data Networks:||2G/3G* & Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi|
|Ext Disp Support:||1024x768||2560x1600|
|Max Battery Life:||10 Hours||5 Hours|
|Dimensions (In):||9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5||1.16 x 12.78 x 8.92|
|Weight:||1.5 or 1.6 lbs||5.3 lbs (2.4 kg)|
* Only high-end iPad models (US$629-US$829) have 2G/3G networking and A-GPS.
† The iPad with 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB of storage and Wi-Fi is US$499, US$599, and US$699, respectively. Configured with the same capacity, but 3G and A-GPS in addition to Wi-Fi costs US$629, US$729, and US$829.
†† Site sponsor OWC offers the ModBook starting at US$1795 or can convert an existing MacBook from US$629.99.
ModBook Video Demonstration
For more details, and demonstration of the ModBook in use, you additionally may find this Axiotron video compilation worthwhile:
Ultimately, the iPad is geared toward those who primarily consume, rather than produce, content while on the go. The ModBook, on the other hand, is designed primarily for those who are interested in a Mac OS-based tablet and who produce more graphical content than text content.
Whether or not an iPad or Modbook --- or a "traditional" MacBook -- is best for you depends on your budget and intended use.
Also see: How does the iPad compare to the MacBook and MacBook Air? Which one is right for my needs?