The Modbook Pro X. Photo: AFP
The personal computer equivalent of customizing an already very fast car but without voiding its warranty, Modbook wants to take an existing 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and turn it into one of the biggest tablet hybrids in existence -- and the most powerful.
Dubbed the Modbook Pro X, it will come with a digitizing pen rather than a simple stylus, clever rear-mounted buttons for accessing features with one hand while sketching with the other, and, like a host of Windows-powered hybrid devices, will dock into a purpose-built backlit keyboard so that it can still be used like a normal notebook computer.
But best of all, the finished product will still technically be a Mac and one that runs Apple's software.
However, this customization doesn't come cheap. If you already have a 15-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina Display, then you can send it to Modbook and the company will customize it for $1900.
Now people love their Macs, and the idea of sending off their pride and joy to be literally torn open and rebuilt might fill many with dread. But Modbook has been doing this for a number of years and started turning Apple notebooks into tablets before Apple got round to launching the first iPad.
Still, if you want to hold onto your existing MacBook Pro and buy the finished product instead, the price will rise substantially -- $3999 to $5698, depending on internal chip, hard disk and RAM specifications, and bear in mind that those are special early-bird offers.
That's a lot of money and that is why the company has decided to turn to Kickstarter to make the Modbook Pro X a reality. It's looking to raise $150,000 before September 7 in order to put the new device into production and is also hoping that by turning to crowdfunding it will get the clearest possible idea of potential demand for the tablet and of course, the first pre-orders.
A tablet that's bigger, faster and more powerful than a host of pro-level Windows laptops or convertibles might seem like something only a rarefied few in the creative industries, such as artists, designers, animators and architects, would be interested in buying. But as Modbook's CEO Andreas Haas says: "Our mission at Modbook is to develop products that unleash the creative potential in everyone."