Modbook Pro

Andreas Haas to Ars

“I’m looking at all these tablets out there, like the iPad, and seeing the seeds of a future Modbook Pro user,” Haas said. “Almost everyone has an iPad or iPhone. I wouldn’t want to live without it. But as a company, we are looking at a very distinct niche. The creative industry does not have a product that meets their need to draw on a real computer’s screen and have it be portable. It’s just not out there.”

Like most, I quit paying attention to the Modbook on the day that Apple announced the iPad. However, I still find it interesting because it can still do one thing that the iPad cannot do that well: handwritten input.

When I was in school, I really wanted to be able to use my iPad to replace pen and paper for note-taking. It would allow me to only have to carry one thing with me to class and I would always have access to any of my notes. I used apps like Penultimate for years, but in my last semester I turned back to pen and paper.

The iPad works great for taking notes in classes where you can type things out; For my science and math based courses, this was never an option. I need to write out math equations and draw figures.

What I was really wanting for this task is a tablet option that would let me do two things:

  1. Write on the screen with close to the same precision as writing on paper (without having to resort to hacks like zooming or large input boxes that shrink your writing).
  2. Palm recognition so I could rest my hand on the screen like I would a piece of paper.

The first is not possible using the large-tipped capacitive touch styli that are available for the iPad now and the second is not possible to do with 100% reliability using Apple’s public APIs.

The ModBook Pro looks as if it can do these things. I don’t have a need for something like this now that I am out of school, but this type of technology is still interesting to me. I really hope this type of input becomes easier to actually do on iOS devices in the future.