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