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Unleash the tablet inside with a Modbook Pro X

The Premise. Creative types know that getting the most of the digital side of their work takes a very specific build of programs and hardware to make the most of them. A simple desktop or tablet may not be enough, and in those cases a little extra firepower comes in handy.

The Product. The Modbook Pro X is essentially a reconfiguration of the beloved MacBook Pro, turning a versatile laptop into an even more capable tablet that offers the functionality of a dedicated artist’s tablet with a vibrant HD screen that uses mind-boggling high resolution. By tearing apart a MacBook and fitting it into a new case with touch-screen display that offers 2,048 levels of pen sensitivity, the Modbook Pro X gives users the flexibility of a device that can run OS X or Windows, all the apps that any MacBook can run normally, and adds ease of use and an experience tailored to artists and designers to the package.

The Pitch. Modbook Pro X isn’t for everyone, and the pitch video doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. Focusing on those who require the full output from programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, the Modbook team showcases almost exclusively the ways in which their device can make the lives of those in the graphic arts that much easier. Modbook needs $150,000 almost entirely for manufacturing costs.

The Perks. Getting a functional Modbook Pro X is going to take a little bit of coin. For $1,999, an existing, owned MacBook Pro with a 15.4-inch Retina display (from no later than late 2013) can be sent to the developers, who will tear the device down and reassemble it as a Modbook Pro X. The Keybars on the back of the device are added at the $2,299 level, while those who pay $2,689 will also get the Keyboard Stand. Anyone without an existing and compatible MacBook Pro can get a complete package for as little as $3,999, going as high as $5,689 for a top-end system with all the bells and whistles. The base perks won’t ship until March 2015, while the higher-tier items will be out as early as December 2014.

The Potential. A Retina display combined with pen controls has never been attempted before, and for some people this will be the kind of dream machine that will be pinned to their corkboard as a sports car of rigs for work and play. The high price point and requirement of owning a MacBook Pro at lower levels will shy away all of the potential backers who might just be looking for some new tech to play with.

Michael Radon is a full-time writer who resides in New Mexico and is currently working as Editor-in-Chief on an upcoming magazine about retro video games.

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