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Portables (Apple) Businesses Hardware Apple

iBook Converts to iTablet 132

Samuel Cotterall writes to tell us The Register is reporting that, not content to wait for Apple's mythical tablet PC to ship, is selling converted iBooks on eBay to fill the void. From the article: " is the first to admit the hardware will not be supported by Apple, thanks to the warranty-warping modification work, but the software should still be covered. More worrying is the site's statement that it "will not fix any broken iTablets". It will also ship to US-located buyers only."
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iBook Converts to iTablet

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  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:41PM (#14449179) Homepage Journal
    The touchpad is not compatible with Apple's Inkwell and it's a G4-based laptop. All that for a mere $1500? Save up another $500 and buy the new Macbook.
    • Not to mention that the $1500 is just the starting price...

      It should also be noted that there are no pictures yet, only renderings. Personally, I would want to be sure the thing existed before dropping $1.5K on it.

      That or wait for apple to get its act together and release an official version. Clearly there are people who want them.

    • Let me go out on a limb and say becasue the Macbook is also not a tablet PC? How come every time someone comes out with a nich product people from slashdot have to pipe in and say "I have no need for this, why do they even sell it?". If they are selling them then obviously _someone_ wants one.
    • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:03PM (#14449365)
      People might buy it just for the coolness factor (like some do with Mac products in general).

      But I agree, as long as it's mostly a hardware mod with minimal software integration, this is a half-assed solution.

      Personally, I'm waiting for Apple come back into the PDA arena - one that could fit in the PCMIA slot of their notebooks for automatic syncing (or cooler still, a very thin one that would lock in to the top - behind the screen of their notebooks, perhaps in the center being a replacement light-up apple symbol like on the powerbook - letting you access notebook data without turning on the notebook completely).
      • I'm more interested in them coming up with a proper universal PIM format. .Mac is getting there, but still relies on visible syncing between devices. The closest I've seen at the moment is Exchange 2003 / Outlook 2003's "Offline Mode", although OSS alternatives (Must sync to Outlook, a web interface and my PDA) are welcome.

        A PDA which bluetooths to your laptop or desktop would be far more useful to me (ie silently updates things), although docking into the laptop for charging is a neat idea. The 'external a
    • The macbook is $1799 at the Apple Education Store, so for only $399 more a student can the new macbook.
    • The apple version is intel.. ( yuk ) So there is your reason to buy one of these things.

      Yes i expect to be modded down, yet again, for expressing my dislike for this change from PPC to ix86. But hey, its how i feel. And im NOT alone.
      • So, you would go out of your way to buy a slower machine to avoid the "yuckiness" on Intel?

        Okay, good luck with that.

        I have an iBook, a mini, an eMac and a dual-G5 tower. I like them because they are Macs, not because of the Apple logos on the cases and certainly not because of the corporation which sold Apple the CPUs inside.

        The MacBook is a faster laptop than the old Powerbook. Why would you care how it became faster?
        • Its not about WHO sold the CPU, its about the architecture behind it.

          The ix86 was flawed from the beginning. Its still flawed.
          • Again: If the chip in the MacBook does everything faster than the chip in the powerbook, with less power consumption, I should care about the maker and/or archetecture... why?

            Yes, the PowerPC is a better chip design concept, but in the real world, Intel surpassed their performance on consumer level chips via brute forece and ignorance, and performance is all that really matters.
            • To me, design does matter.

              Then again, im an EE.
              • If you were an artist, I would respect your "design does matter" defense a lot more. I would expect an engineer to be a little more practical. When you're using your computer for actual tasks, you're not going to sit around admiring the way data is piped through the CPU. All that matters is how efficiently it produces the correct result.

                An inelegant design which outperforms an elegant one is the superior technology.
                • It really is. Its just not in-your-face traditional, like a painting would be. But dont doubt for even a millisecond that its not an art form.
                  • Sure, and if I wanted to buy a schematic of a CPU to hang on my wall, I'd probably go with the PowerPC over any x86 chip.

                    But inside my computer, I want whichever one performs its job better, and that's the new dual-core Intel chip. I'll never see the convoluted motions it goes through to produce the results I ask for, I'll only see that it does so quickly without taxing my laptop battery much.

                    To insist on using a a poorer-performing chip for the sole reason that the concept behind it is more pretty (or, to
    • I remember a Slashdot story ( 12/1549216&from=rss [] ) about a similar hack. But it used a touchscreen from TrollTouch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:42PM (#14449189)
    the iTablet = a hard pill to swallow

  • Hah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:43PM (#14449199)
    So, should we start an office pool on how long it takes before Apple starts to sue them?
  • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:44PM (#14449204)
    I thought this was kind of cool until I read that Inkwell is not supported. What's up with that? It pretty much makes the tablet useless.

    • Does anyone know of, or even better can recommend, a inkwell compatible touch screen?

      I would love to put an iMac on my kitchen wall, but inkwell would be a must. From my limited knowledge inkwell seems to only work with tablets. And that would wouldn't be too good for what I have in mind.

      Thanx in advance
  • From TFA: only has mock-up pics on its site, as does the eBay auction page, so there's no real indication as to what the final product will look like.

    Any real consumer reviews of these from happy/unhappy customers?

    • Re:Caveat Emptor (Score:2, Informative)

      by dleifelohcs ( 777508 ) *
      If you read the rest of TFA, you would know this is a one-of-a-kind. There's only one person right now who knows what it really looks like, and that's the creator of it.
  • by IAAP ( 937607 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:46PM (#14449229)
    The image above is a very close approximation of what iTab should look like when constructed. The iTab is not built yet.

    Ok, it doesn't sound like they even have a prototype and it voids Apple's warrantee. This does not give me any confidence in their ability to do this work. I wouldn't want them fucking with my iBook.

    I'll wait for Apple, thank you very much.

  • Good for them (Score:2, Interesting)

    by flicken ( 182650 )
    What the market demands, the market gets, regardless of whether the original manufacturer listens or not. If this sells well, maybe Apple will hasten to complete their own tablet PC.

    • Ya, but I think this market consists of about 5 Mac users... one of which made this tablet.

      Tablet PC sales have been fairly lack luster. So, tablet Mac sales would probably suck... big time.
  • by Otter Escaping North ( 945051 ) <> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:46PM (#14449234) Journal is the first to admit the hardware will not be supported by Apple, thanks to the warranty-warping modification work, but the software should still be covered. More worrying is the site's statement that it will not fix any broken iTablets. We break it! You buy it!

  • Vaporware (Score:5, Informative)

    by chriss ( 26574 ) * <> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:47PM (#14449243) Homepage

    Some remarks:

    • The concept: Take a 12" iBook, flip the display onto its back, attach a Keytec USB touchpanel [] on top and fix it all together. No further hardware modifications, of course you will not be able to use the keyboard or trackpad afterwards, and one USB port is already used by the touchscreen.
    • None of these have ever been build. From their site: "The iTab is not built yet. We will build them as they are sold." If they intend to sell 100 of them, shouldn't they at least build one prototype? All they have are some photoshopped mockups.
    • Obviously Apples warranty will no longer apply. They will give you no guarantee either. Even more: "We will not fix any broken iTabs." Great service. Should you buy it and it never works, just throw it away. But of course this will never happen, because "we will do extensive tests on the iBook before modifying to catch any problems with it. Any problems with a computer are usually immediately visible after these tests. So the chance of your iTab breaking after purchase is lower." Exactly. The whole warranty stuff is overrated, vendor tested hardware almost never fails.
    • Handwriting does not work. "The touchscreen technology used in iTab is not compatible with InkWell, Apple's handwriting recognition technology". Your only option is to purchase a third party virtual keyboard product.
    • The vendor has a 14 feedbacks from buyers at ebay, five of them since 09/2005, most of which where books about tennis, none hardware.

    Don't touch it

    Auction on ebay []
    iTab homepage [] (already slashdotted)


    -- [] - brush up your German, French, Spanish or Italian - online and free

    • Not only should they build a prototype if they plan to sell any, but I would think that at least one person at their company would want one and they should have already built one for that person.

      Just my $.02.
    • by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:25PM (#14449529)
      Even better, check out "Sam's Custom Built Computers" []. It's as vaporous as the iTab. But you can "Rock your next lan party".

      Why do I feel like I'm looking at Something Awful's Awful Link of the Day?

      • LOL @ Big(more expendability)

        Dream Computer Order Form []

        And LOL @ Note: Almost any peice you can find anywhere else on the web we can incorporate in your computer.

        What about this []?

      • Don't you see? It has a <blink> tag embedded into an image. He probably paid a grand or two for that web site design. That makes it a respectful business. Now go and buy his stuff*.

        * I am in no way affiliated with Sam's Home-Broken Computers.
      • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @07:37PM (#14450088) Journal
        Even better, check out "Sam's Custom Built Computers"

        The best part of the "about" page:

        You can call durring bussinness hours 9am-5pm easter time
        So I guess they're only open for bussinness one day a year, and that's on a Sunday.
      • That would be the mind-killing flashing image, jaggy heading text stored as an image, and poor sense of proofreading ("purchased my [sic] customer"). Those three things alone wouldn't make a site a Something Awful candidate, but when you combine them, you have many of the hallmarks of one.

        (To be fair, I did read his press release, and he is only twelve.)

    • ...most of which where books about tennis, none hardware.

      So they're selling you a $1500 tennis racquet.

    • Even better is the shipping policy...

      Will usually ship within 1 business day of receiving cleared payment.

      Not built until sold, then out the door in a day of receiving payment? Talk about turnaround time for a prototype-less product!

      I agree, stay away...stay far, far away!

      (also wonder when Apple will come after them...the ad looks WAY too much like Apple's marketing work.)
    • It would be interesting if it gets no bids. With all the publicity, that would mean there's no one in the world stupid enough to buy this POS.
    • a little OT but does anyone know the laptop where you can flip the screen around the back and use it like a tablet? I saw a commercial for it awhile ago but I forgot the model.
  • by capsteve ( 4595 ) * on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:50PM (#14449270) Homepage Journal
    the lack of inkwell compatability kind of defeats the whole purpose of getting a tablet mac in the first place... use another vendor for handwriting recognition, sure, but not as slick as inkwell for sure. plus extra cost.

    but the bigger complaint would be that they will not repair any tablet, after they void the warranty for you. at the very least they should offer a limited warranty and repair policy. without any, they pool of prospective buyers is gonna narrow dramatically.

    and you'd think after spending all that time figuring out how to make this work(which they haven't actually done it yet, not until you buy one, then they'll figure it out) they would have designed a better stylus holder. it looks more like an after thought.

    so in the end, what you really end up paying for is someone elses laptop case mod experiment.
    that you had to bid on thru ebay.

  • by ravee ( 201020 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:52PM (#14449279) Homepage Journal
    The unit on offer contains a 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 CPU, 512MB of memory, 40GB of hard drive space and Mac OS X 10.4. It has 802.11g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0. The machine is signed by the modder, and individually numbered.

    That is a pretty impressive configuration for a tablet PC. And at that price they better give a personal autograph too. Collectors items commands its own value in the market.
    • That is a pretty impressive configuration for a tablet PC.

      Ya, wow, it is almost half as fast as last years models of Windows Tablet PCs...

      Has the world gone mad?

      Ok, would it not be smarter to just buy a Windows Tablet PC, and run PearPC on it? (Sure you have to buy a copy of OSX).

      This has to be a con or joke, I can't believe this is a real product.

  • What their saying is it wont work if you try to change the system basically. No drivers, no upgrades. I'd buy one if I were a millionare though.
  • by jack_call ( 742032 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:53PM (#14449291) Journal
    If you gave me $1500, I could get you an iBook, rip the screen off, and patch it back on woth duct tape ;-) Especially since I never would have to touch it again, let alone meet you...
    I should start my own ebay store, selling hardware I tinkered with(read: FUBAR'ed)
    • Haha. You have no idea how ****ing hard it is to replace anything in an iBook. To replace anything in a normal iBook takes about an hour, and that's just to get in! Imagine if you had to replace something on this, this piece of crap. It'd take forever, assuming it's even possible. Hey, you guys out there who are using flash lights to read your iBook screen, you need a new backlight display cable. That took me 5 hours to replace with help from a friend, and that was my third time in an iBook, so we weren't s
      • by Prophet of Nixon ( 842081 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:23PM (#14449507)
        Back when the Newton came out, I was in high school, and had a basic tech class taught by a man conveniently named Mr. Newton. He ordered a Newton, and was ecstatic about it when it arrived. Just about the first thing he did was write his name on it... 'Jim Newton'. The handwriting recognition software thought about it for a moment, then translated it to 'Jim Neutered'. He never really loved it after that.
  • by Jazzer_Techie ( 800432 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:53PM (#14449292)
    The lack of Inkwell support is an issue, but I more importantly question the screen. As far as I know, there's no way to switch between Portrait and Landscape mode. TFA certainly doesn't mention this capablity, and after playing around with my PowerBook for a few minutes, OSX doesn't seem to naitively support that kind of orientation change. That's a big issue as it removes one of the cornerstones of Tablet fuctionality.
    • by Phroggy ( 441 ) * <.slashdot3. .at.> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:11PM (#14449425) Homepage
      The lack of Inkwell support is an issue, but I more importantly question the screen. As far as I know, there's no way to switch between Portrait and Landscape mode. TFA certainly doesn't mention this capablity, and after playing around with my PowerBook for a few minutes, OSX doesn't seem to naitively support that kind of orientation change. That's a big issue as it removes one of the cornerstones of Tablet fuctionality.

      OSX 10.4 does support rotating an external display, but it won't let me rotate the internal display on my iBook. Also, performance is severely impacted when you rotate a display.
    • OSX doesn't seem to naitively support that kind of orientation change.

      There has to be a good joke in here somewhere.

    • The lack of Inkwell support is an issue

      I'd say the lack of actual existence is a more pressing issue. It reads as if some guy said "I'll bet I can do this. Somebody lend me your iBook." And everybody said no. So they're trying this.

  • I was under the impression that there was enough propriatery work in both Apple's software and hardware that they'd had full control over retail dealing of Apple products. They can even tell dealers at which price to sell things. Could Apple sue this outfit?
    • I was under the impression that there was enough propriatery work in both Apple's software and hardware that they'd had full control over retail dealing of Apple products. They can even tell dealers at which price to sell things. Could Apple sue this outfit?

      We could all individually sue this outfit for having a stupid name.

      But no, Apple has no particular rights when it comes to the modification or resale of Apple-branded equipment. I don't know of a contract or legal statute that the modifiers would be vi
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @05:57PM (#14449321)
    ..... where it had everything except ROM chips (which the user had to supply from a desktop Mac) so that they didn't get sued out of existance by Apple( l [] for more). Oddly enough, what put them out of business was the release of the first Mac Portable.

    This time around they are taking iBooks and (allegedly) converting them into tablets. That is sure to get the attention of the horde of Apple lawyers who will surely sue them out of existance.
  • Sheesh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:10PM (#14449416)
    I see that The Reg is suffering from the /. Editor Effect. "Tablet Mac draws bidders on eBay". Bidders? Unless zero has taken on a new value that I don't know about, I'd disagree.

    Oh, and, for what it's worth, the auction does say that the computer will ship outside of the US. Although I honestly can't imagine who would care to risk their money on something that doesn't even exist.

    I've got to say that I'm a little confused about the shipping time, too. The auction text says that it ships after it's modified - oh, and allow some time for the vendor to order one after you pay up. And for the touchscreen to arrive. But at the bottom of the auction, it ships a day after payment clears.

    I'm really at a loss for a reason why this is on either /. or The Reg. Maybe it's not a scam, but it's certainly not news.

  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:12PM (#14449433)
    I bookmarked this auction. Not because I'd be stupid enough to buy one, but because I want to see how many chumps actually bid on this thing.
  • by jelloshotgun ( 891531 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:12PM (#14449434) Homepage
    Anyone notice the title of TFA is: "Tablet Mac draws bidders on eBay" but when you go to the ebay link in the article you see "History: 0 bids"

    Seems like the title of TFA should be "Tablet Mac draws wide skepticism from Slashdot"
  • Trolltouch... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ErnstKompressor ( 193799 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:14PM (#14449445) Homepage
    Trolltouch [] already makes a touch screen enabled iBook...

    Super-low-profile, really cool...
  • if the keyboard is covered and you can never get to it again, then how do you get to RAM/Airport Extreme?

    in iBooks, the RAM is located under the keyboard and you get to it by taking off the keyboard.
    • The newest rev of iBook G4's (and everything else) don't have airport extreme cards that are user removable anymore. There's a card that plugs into the PCI bus that has a broadcom wireless chip on it that does pci bus bridging, and then connected to that chip on the same card is a USB controller and a bluetooth chipset.

      The whole product here is a bad idea.. the RAM access is just one of the reasons not to get one :)
  • by keot ( 667523 ) <> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:39PM (#14449674) Homepage
    iBooks are not meant to be run with the lid closed, or at least that's what Apple says. So wouldn't this new permanently closed touchscreen lid cause the machine to overheat?
  • Power iTablet... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Burning Plastic ( 153446 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @06:41PM (#14449693) Journal
    This one is a bit older, but it's a lot more functional. []

    I wouldn't mind one of these made using more recent components...

  • blah, no warranty, and overtly expensive. I'll just wait for an official apple tablet machine. I'm praying that they'll contract Wacom for the Cintiq technology.
  • If not for bastardizing Apple's work (which is legal to an extent), for calling it an iTablet (or iAnything), and duplicating the design of their product descriptions to a T on their site.
    • It'll be interesting to see if Apple actually sues. This is a small-time outfit (total sales: 0, projected sales: 100... or maybe 0), so maybe Apple won't care.

      On the other hand, if Apple does think about litigation, they have a very solid case. First off, copyright infringement. The guys have replicated text from the Apple site without even changing it, and have copied graphics too:
      Apple []
      iTab []

      In terms of trademark, they are pretty clearly infringing. The use of the "iThing" naming scheme, in relati
  • by rawg ( 23000 )
    I would love to have an Apple Mac Tablet. But this isn't even close to what I'm thinking.
  • Yeah, what a business model. Going to market just a days before or at the day of keynote, where the "rumours" were about a tablet from mac itself.

    I think you will find a disclaimer that you are buying a picture somwhere.
  • "Every iTab ships with a built-in 56K V.92(2) modem for dial-up connections and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet to enable you to connect to a DSL, cable modem or a high-speed network. The Setup Assistant takes you through the steps of connecting to the Internet easily, whisking you online and surfing the Web in minutes." But no wireless, just seems strange (and less useful) to me in this day and age....
    • But no wireless, just seems strange (and less useful) to me in this day and age....

      Even stranger is that the iBooks they are modifying come with wireless standard. Somehow they must break the wireless when they do their modifications (maybe they have to cover up the antenna)?
  • by Bassman59 ( 519820 ) <> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @07:55PM (#14450199) Homepage
    here []

    Q: I want to make an urgent purchase of your apple laptop for my nephew's Mac project. I'm unable to bid due to the urgency and my short access to internet.Let me know its current condition and your last desired price as I hope to send money order via MoneyGram since I do not have access to paypal.I'll be offering a sum of 2450 usd including shipping via express post to Ibadan, Nigeria and let me know if this is ok by you. Kindly provide me your full address details and the name that will be on the payment form of your money order. I'm awaiting your response as speedy as possible Thanks and God bless! Vivian Jan-11-06

    A: Let me check with the US State Department.

  • This article isn't useless. Seeing the lengths someone will go to to get less than a quarter of the functionality that I take for granted in the tablet-PC that I'm writing this on... it gives me warm fuzzies.

    Mmmmm, warm fuzzies.
  • I wonder how Apple feels about their entire product page for the iBook being taken verbatim with only minor modifications and being relabled as iTab? From the eBay ad...

    You Can Take It with You

    Built-in wireless capability on every iTab means you can work or play anywhere you can hold a notepad. With AirPort Extreme technology standard, the iTab can surf the Web in any Wi-Fi hot spot, from hotels to bookshops. With an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express Base Station in your room or office, you can get

  • 1. The actual auction says all they have is a drawing of one, the first one won't be built until it's ordered, he hasn't built one yet, and it's your keister if it breaks. I'll pass.

    2. Isn't there a way to build a stylus that can be used on a trackpad? Granted it's not a great space to draw in, but I'd grab a $29 stylus for occasional Photoshop etc. use rather than a $100 drawing pad that has to be lugged... IANAEE so this to me is like Asimov's calculator - but I know I'd line my pockets with them if
  • the link gives ebays typical item not found error.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.