The 'Book Review

Modbook Mac Tablet from Axiotron and OWC, New Notebook Accessories

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.01.10

Special Macworld Expo Edition

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review.

News & Opinion

News & Opinion

The Mac Tablet Revolution Is Here: OWC/Axiotron Modbook

PR: The Axiotron Modbook is the first and only Mac tablet computer solution! Ideal for: Mobile Users, Business Professionals, Artists, Students, and Technology Leaders.

  • Write and draw directly on screen!
  • True pen & handwriting recognition
  • The only Mac solution with an optional built-in GPS
  • Aircraft grade magnesium alloy for all terrain use

Engineered in the US by a renowned team of German and American designers, the Modbook's condensed form factor and integrated pen-based user experience makes it the ultimate solution for applications and situations where a keyboard only gets in the way.

Axiotron ModbookDesigned in California by Axiotron's team of German and American engineers, The Modbook is at its core an after-market hardware modification kit, which allows standard off-the-shelf Apple MacBook systems to be converted into high-end slate- style tablet computers. With its condensed form factor and integrated pen-based user experience the Axiotron Modbook is the ultimate companion for applications and situations where a keyboard only gets in the way.

Built for mobile users, artists, students and professionals, the Modbook enables its user to draw and write directly on the screen, while the handwriting recognition built-into Mac OS X Tiger not only turns hand scribbles into text in every application, but also provides extended control of the system through gesture recognition.

ModbookThe Modbook comes standard with built-in iSight camera and an integrated CD/DVD combo drive that can be upgraded to a 8.5 GB DVD burner, and it is the only portable Mac solution that also features an optional built-in Global Positioning System (GPS).

  • Mod-kit for MacBooks - Convert your standard MacBook into a tablet computer.
  • Slate-style Tablet Mac - Ideal for mobile users, artists students & professionals.
  • True Pen & Handwriting Recognition - Draw, paint, scribble and write directly on the screen.
  • Optional Built-in GPS - No clutter, always ready, never ask for directions again

The Modbook is the only portable Mac solution that features an optional built-in Global Positioning System (GPS). The optional Axiotron Modbook GPS Module is based on the industry leading SiRFstar III chipset for faster first location fix times and improved tracking capabilities in challenging urban and outdoor environments.

State-of-the-Art Pen Input

The Axiotron Modbook is built using the unique digitizer technology from WACOM, the industry leader in graphics tablets for professional artists and consumers.

The Modbook pen digitizer is:

  • Fast - 133 position updates per second
  • Accurate - 20x display resolution
  • Sensitive - 256 pressure levels
  • Efficient - No batteries required

The included Axiotron Digitizer Pen features a replaceable pen tip, 2 programmable side buttons plus an eraser. Requiring no batteries or magnets, the pen always feels light and nimble and due to the radio-based digitizer technology, users can even write with their hand resting on the screen. This technology also allows the cursor to be controlled while the pen is hovering over the screen, providing for an intuitive, mouse-like interface with a zero learning curve.

The Modbook is fully compatible with Apple's Inkwell, a Mac OS X Tiger feature that provides system level handwriting and gesture recognition instantly to all Mac applications.

When the Going Gets Tough

Both the Modbook's top shell and the interior display frame are built from top grade, aircraft quality magnesium alloy, giving the Modbook superior structural strength for almost every situation. Its satin textured top shell is plated with chrome over a set of copper and nickel layers. This provides for an extremely scratch resistant and aesthetically pleasing surface, while also offering optimum protection against oxidation. Both the LCD panel and the built- in iSight camera are protected by replaceable screen covers made from

Chemically Strengthened (CS) glass. Compared to cheaper non-glass-based solutions found in most tablet computers, CS glass provides superior optical and aging properties as well as far improved scratch resistance.

The display screen cover has been treated on both sides for optimized optical properties. The LCD facing (in)side features an anti-reflective coating to increase the light transmissivity for a brighter image. The user facing (out)side has been acid treated to achieve an etched surface, carefully calibrated to match the display resolution. This provides for a crisp, paper-like writing sensation, while keeping perceived haze and light refractions to a minimum.

Because Looks Do Matter

The Modbook is equipped with a new and improved LCD panel offering wider viewing angles (Horiz./Vert.: 100°/90° vs. 90°/55°) and a higher contrast ratio (500:1 vs. 400:1) for darker blacks and stronger, more saturated, lush colors, while maintaining the same resolution (1280x800 pixel) and aspect ratio (113 ppi) of the original MacBook display. The included Modbook ColorSync profile offers a solid base calibration which can be adjusted or replaced using the Mac OS X Tiger display calibration tools.

Built-in iSight Camera

While the Modbook utilizes the original iSight camera of the MacBook base system, it is mounted slightly tilted downwards to better frame the face of the user.

Built-in CD/DVD or DVD Burner

The Modbook is the only slate-style tablet computer with an internal CD/DVD combo drive, which in addition can be upgraded to a 6x DVD burner with up to 8.5 GB capacity. In combination with its 13.3" wide screen LCD, this also earns the Modbook the title of "Largest Screen Portable DVD Entertainment System".

Built-in Mounting Locks

Inconspicuous locking points, designed into the magnesium top shell, allow the Modbook to be securely placed in optional multifunctional mounts i.e. for use with VESA compatible desktop arms.

Warranty and Warranty Extensions

Every complete Modbook solution purchased through Other World Computing (OWC) includes a 1 year OWC warranty and can be extended to up to 3 years. To learn more about OWC warranty coverage or to purchase the optional 2 year OWC warranty extension, visit Where to Buy Please visit or call +1.800.275.4576 to purchase your complete built-to-order MacBook solution

Kensington Keeps Mobile Professionals Connected with Eight New Accessories

PR: Kensington Computer Products Group, a worldwide leader in mobile computing accessories has announced 9 new products designed to help consumers stay connected while on the go. The new products include additions to the award-winning line of iPod accessories, to the line of media and communication devices and to the popular line of notebook mice and keypads.

Reports indicate that 2007 will see an increase in the volume of business travel worldwide with continued and sustained growth. According to a recent survey by the Travel Industry Association, today's travelers bring a surprising amount of technology with them in order to stay connected. While cell phones remain the must have item when traveling, nearly one-quarter or 24 percent of all travelers also packed their laptops and 11 percent brought an iPod or MP3 player. Across the board, Kensington offers the products and accessories that enhance the user experience no matter what technology device they choose to travel with.

"Business travel is on the rise, and we are delighted to announce a wide range of products that help our customers better enjoy their mobile lifestyles," said Christine Dumery, Marketing Communications Director, Kensington. "Our expanding line of smartly designed yet easy to use products allows mobile professionals to stay productive and enjoy their technology while traveling on business or for leisure, locally, domestically or internationally."

When Travel is a Must - Kensington has You Covered Kensington accessories have wide appeal for mobile users who need to have ultimate productivity and enjoyment while on the go. Kensington answers this need with a variety of products that allow for the best computing experience.

Play it iPod Accessories

Mobile professionals love their music too, whether it's from an iPod or an MP3 player, Kensington keeps the tunes playing in the car or between meetings.

  • FX500 Speaker To Go (SKU 33390) - Perfect for travelers, the FX500 Speaker To Go plays your MP3 or iPod tunes with quality stereo sound thanks to its built-in speakers. The speakers are housed in a 1.25" ultra thin case to store and protect your music player while in use so it's ready to go wherever you want. SRP $49.99
  • Car Mount for iPod and MP3 Players (SKU 33412) - Keep your iPod or MP3 player safely in place while you drive. Flexible arm positions your player in view without taking up space or blocking dashboard controls. Adjustable, padded cradle secures player without scratching. No installation needed - the unique suction mount grips tightly, yet releases quickly by lifting a lever. SRP $29.99

Connect it

As more mobile professionals rely on Internet communications to conduct business calls or stay in touch with family and friends around the world, Kensington expands its line of VoIP accessories that simplifies making Internet calls through a computer. Additionally, Kensington has a solution that allows mobile professionals to exchange more content between media devices.

  • Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone (SKU 33406) - Using your Bluetooth-enabled PC, the Kensington Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone lets you make clear calls and get hours of talk time -- over three hours and up to 30 hours standby time. When you're finished, just slide it into your notebook's PC Card slot to conveniently store and recharge. Always make clear calls with advanced echo cancellation and noise suppression technology. Use the convenient hands free mode or change to handset mode for more privacy. The Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone is compatible with your favorite Internet phone services including Skype, MSN, Yahoo and Google. SRP $89.99
  • 7-in-1 Media Reader for ExpressCard Slot (SKU 33407) - Conveniently transfer pictures and music between your notebook and media devices while on the go! Just plug in your memory card then drag and drop your files. With the 7-in-1 ExpressCard Media Reader, you won't hassle with USB cords and wait on slow downloads again. It fits neatly into your ExpressCard notebook slot so it's ready to use in the office or on the road. SRP $39.99

Control it

Allowing consumers to get the most out of their computing experiences, Kensington also offers four new products to the Control it line, including a Bluetooth-enabled mouse and USB enabled notebook keypads, for ultimate productivity.

  • Notebook Keypad/Calculator with USB Hub (SKU 72274) - Offering the fastest, most convenient way to enter numeric data. This is one smart device -- a calculator, full 19-key pad and USB hub, all in one. Enter numbers even faster with this keypad that doubles as a stand-alone calculator. Convenient mode switch lets you quickly make and enter calculations then whiz through 10-key data entry. Plus, the keypad contains 2 USB ports for your other accessories. No software needed, just plug it in to use. SRP $29.99
  • Wireless Notebook Keypad/Calculator and Mouse Set (SKU 72273) - A faster, more convenient way to enter numbers while traveling. This set includes an ergonomic keypad that doubles as a stand-alone calculator and an optical mouse. Handy mode switch lets you quickly make and enter calculations then whiz through 10-key data entry. Just one receiver connects both mouse and keypad. Ideal for mobile professionals that work on financial applications and spreadsheets. SRP $59.99
  • Si670m Bluetooth Wireless Notebook Mouse (SKU 72271) - Instant connection with no receiver! Designed for people who want the best out of their computing experience, this wireless mouse connects to your Bluetooth-enabled notebook, without a receiver. That means no wires, no receivers, and no clutter. Work quickly and accurately on almost any surface thanks to the 1000 dpi performance optical sensor and 4-way tilt scroll. Plus, the ergonomic design helps you work comfortably all day long. SRP $49.99
  • Si750m LE Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse (SKU 72272) - Designed for women, Kensington's new Si750m LE Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse offers a unique combination of technology and style. With a comfortable sculpted design fitting comfortably in a woman's hand, laser precision and wireless convenience, it provides the ultimate in mobility and precision on the road. This limited edition mouse comes in an attractive titanium and pink color. SRP $49.99

With the launch of this product, Kensington is proud to announce its support to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement to help fight heart disease, the # 1 killer of American women. To show its full support to the movement, Kensington is donating $125,000 to the American Heart Association to help raise funds and awareness so women can lead longer, heart-healthy lives.

"Heart disease touches all our lives. It affects the women we know, the women we love," said Dumery. "Kensington is proud to support the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement. By helping to raise funds and awareness, we can make a difference in women's lives."

Go Red For Women is the America Heart Association's national call to increase awareness of heart disease and to inspire women to take charge of their heart health.

Targus Travel USB 2.0 4-port Hub with Notebook Light

PR: Targus Inc., maker of the world's top-selling notebook computer cases and accessories, today launched a unique line of travel hubs that combine useful functions with practical functionality. Space is a precious commodity, and with the new Travel USB 2.0 4-port hub with a notebook light it is perfect for the traveler on-the-go.

The Targus Travel USB 2.0 4-Port Hub with Notebook Light allows a notebook user to simultaneously connect up to four USB devices such as mice, keyboards, USB drives and MP3 players while also illuminating the keyboard. With the unique integrated light that swivels 180o, a user can maximize keyboard illumination. In addition, the built-in notebook clip conveniently attaches to a notebook screen to provide overhead lighting to the keyboard. A 2 ft. extension USB cable is included to extend the hub's functionality as a clip-on light. Both compact and lightweight, the hub does not require an AC adapter, making it ideal for travel.

Features and Benefits:

  • Expandability - Instantly expand a computer's USB ports and connect up to four devices simultaneously.
  • High-Speed USB - Supports high-speed transfer rates of up to 480 Mbps
  • Functional Design - Designed to either connect directly to a notebook or to clip on a screen while using the included 2 foot extension USB cable
  • Plug and Play - No drivers required, simply plug into your notebook's USB port
  • Notebook Powered - Hub draws power directly from a notebook.

Targus' new Travel USB 2.0 4-Port Hub with Notebook Light (part number: ACH76US) has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $29.99 and includes a limited one-year warranty.

Kensington Maximizes Notebook User Productivity This Tax Season

PR: Kensington Computer Products Group, a worldwide leader in mobile computing accessories, announced today new keypads that make number crunching when you are mobile as easy as it is when you are at your desk.

Kensington's wireless notebook keypad and wireless optical mouse set provides a faster way for mobile users to key in numbers. Unlike other devices on the market, it features a smart two-in-one keypad which can be used as a stand-alone calculator or full numeric keypad. The new Kensington wired notebook keypad also doubles as a stand-alone calculator and contains two USB ports to accommodate extra accessories.

"These product line additions offer design enhancements that provide significant benefits to notebook users," said Eleanor Sales, Kensington Senior Product Marketing Manager. "Our objective is to maximize your productivity, wherever you are. These are the ultimate productivity tools for number crunchers." Typical applications include tax preparation and catalog numeric data entry. "Because the devices make full keypad use possible, they are particularly well suited for accounting and spreadsheet applications," Sales added.

With the introduction of these products, Kensington continues to address the needs of the growing notebook computing market. According to industry analysts, US sales of notebook PCs now exceed those of desktop PCs, with the notebook PC market expected to grow some 30% this year. Notebook computer users want the functionality and ease-of-use associated with desktop computing solutions but with the added benefits of a mobile computing solution.

"Our new keypad and keypad/mouse set are designed to provide notebook users with the ability to enter numerical data quickly and reliably. With these tools, users no longer have to struggle with those awkward notebook number keys along the top row," Sales said.

Wireless Notebook Keypad/Calculator and Mouse Set

  • The Kensington Wireless Notebook Keypad/Calculator and Mouse Set (SKU 72273) is a wireless keypad and calculator with a wireless optical mouse connected to a single receiver. Because it is totally wireless and connects to one receiver, it provides a "tangle-free" workspace, a requirement of the traveling user. A convenient mode switch feature lets the user easily switch from calculations to data entry. While in keypad use, numbers can get quickly inserted into excel files straight from the keypad. In addition, with a convenient mode button, the keypad can be used as a stand-alone calculator. The unique LCD screen allows users to view calculations, making the keypad just like a traditional calculator. Suggested retail price: $59.99.

Notebook Keypad with Two USB Hubs

  • The Kensington Notebook Keypad/Calculator with USB (SKU 72274) is a single smart device that features a three-in-one design, providing a fully functional calculator, a 19-key keypad for data entry and an integrated USB hub with two high-speed 2.0 USB ports for plugging in extra accessories with ease. The full 19-key pad enables quick data entry, while switching to stand-alone calculator mode allows the user to easily make and enter calculations. In addition, it's clear LCD display works in a variety of lighting conditions. Suggested retail price: $29.99.

The Kensington Wireless Notebook Keypad/Calculator and Mouse Set (SKU 72273) and Notebook Keypad/Calculator with USB Hub (SKU 72274) will be available in December 2006 at various retailers.

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