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Modbook R&D Labs – The Inside Track, Issue No.18

MB_RnDLabs_TheInsideTrack-No18-0225sIMGHello my fellow Töpferlgucker (?).

Work continues on the Modbook Pro X. This includes testing and finalizing parts (e.g., the pen sensor boards discussed in the last update) as well as internal preparations so that we’re able to ramp up quickly once production begins.

Potential new base systems

We’re keeping a close eye on potential Apple updates to the Retina-display MacBook Pro models, including the 15.4-inch model that forms the base system of the Modbook Pro X.

There is a possibility that an update could arrive at the Apple media event scheduled in three weeks (on or around Monday, March 21st, 2016). Our sources indicate that the update to the 15.4-inch model is likely to come later, perhaps in the summer (for example, on or around the time of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June) or after that.

An update that comes sooner rather than later raises the intriguing possibility of being able to use these new base systems in the Pro X. Our current Pro X Revision C Alphabody design that’s been discussed at length in previous updates was developed with the goal of adaptability to these base system changes with minimal redesign work.

Updated specs

Here’s a look at the updated specifications for the Pro X. There could still be some small changes when the system ships, but these are closer to the final version.

There are a few notable differences from the original specs. The system will have one external USB 3 port instead of two (one of the port openings will be closed up and used internally to drive the pen-enabled Retina display system). This makes our electronic design more stable by bringing it 100% in line with the Apple Developer guidelines, which in turn makes our pen integration 100% compatible to other third-party solutions (provided they are also good Mac citizens and follow those guidelines to the letter as well). This approach is “future proof” (see our comments about possible future MacBook Pro iterations) compared to other methods of integrating the pen functionality. Given that each Modbook Pro X has two Thunderbolt ports, each capable of carrying multiple USB connections, we think this change bulletproofs the stability of the Pro X with very little downside to connectivity options.

As we mentioned in previous updates, the system will weigh more than we previously anticipated, several ounces heavier than the current 13.3-inch Modbook Pro. This is partially due to a slightly more rigid internal framework construction to make the Pro X significantly stronger than any other portable system in its size, and also due to the beefed up internal thermal management system to keep the system cool and allow it to run on full power in almost any usage scenario (saunas not included). The more rigid construction will also enable a unique, industry-first mounting system — a new, never-before-seen feature on the Pro X that we’ll be showing you in the coming weeks.

The Pro X now will have a higher battery capacity compared to the original specs, providing for longer on-the-road work times. In addition, the improved graphics on the Pro X will mean better performance in graphics-intensive applications as well as support for higher resolutions at faster refresh rates.

Despite the added oomph, we managed to cram it all into a much sleeker enclosure, actually decreasing the outer dimensions of the system compared to the initial specifications, making it not only sturdier and more powerful, but more compact and visually appealing.

Here are the current specs (Modbook Pro X, Revision C):

MB_RnDLabs_TheInsideTrack-No18_Ainv

Until next time,
Andreas & the Team

The Modbook Pro X is a one time, small production volume project to create a tablet mac computer solution based on Apple’s 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro notebook. While only backers of the project will be able to receive the Pro X, we’ll be sharing insights and updates as we advance the project. Follow us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/modbook/ for notifications our next posts.

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Modbook Inc. is not affiliated with, nor are the Modbook Pro and Modbook Pro X sponsored or endorsed by, Apple Inc.
Disclaimer
The Modbook Pro and Modbook Pro X are enclosure conversion kits that transform an original Apple MacBook Pro notebook-style computer into a tablet-style computer. Apple Inc.'s warranty on the MacBook Pro base system is voided by the conversion and replaced with the Modbook Protection Plan, which covers the entire hardware solution, including the base system.