Modbook Inc.

Los Angeles, CA

Angel / Pre-seed stage Full Build Computer Hardware & Services » Handheld Computers & Accessories
About
Modbook Inc makes the macOS tablets that Apple won’t.

Video

Industry
Landscape

The Market Architects, designers, engineers, and animators are just a few of the over 369k creative Mac professionals spending $1.85 billion on pen-enabled solutions in 2016 for a lot more than email and internet access. These users need the power, performance, and portability of a laptop but also require advanced pen capabilities to draft, design, and create wherever they are. No single system has existed with this unique combination — until now! The upcoming Modbook is for Mac users demanding the best creative computing tool in the world. Apple We are to Apple like what Shelby was to Ford or AMG was to Mercedes in the car industry - an aftermarket, in our case Macintosh conversion, solution provider. Since the introduction of the original Macintosh in 1984, companies (other than Apple) created legal macOS solutions either by producing Macintosh clones or manufacturing Macintosh conversions. The former requires a license from Apple, the latter require the purchases of 100% genuine Apple Mac computers which are then "converted" and sold as aftermarket solutions. Macintosh conversions are protected by laws in the US (First-sale doctrine) and most other countries that naturally allow the owner of a product, once acquired, to dispose of it whichever s/he sees fit. Every Modbook tablet mac solution is essentially an enclosure conversion of a previously purchased 100% genuine Apple MacBook/Pro. Because the entire Mac computer (minus the original enclosure and a few other parts no longer needed) is retained within the converted solution, its Mac operating system also remains 100% compliant with its OS license agreement terms. Not only does this keep the entire solution top-to-bottom in a safe legal harbor, it is also the reason for the core Modbook rule for Mac compatibility: if it works/runs on the MacBook Pro before we transform it, then it will equally run on it after we transformed it into a Modbook. Competition - Apple We strongly believe that Apple will not address our niche for the foreseeable future for the following two main reasons: One(1) – It would be utterly incompatible with their product strategy (not marketing strategy, which could be much more easily adjusted). Making a macOS X-based tablet would mean Apple would have to abandon their extremely successful and deeply ingrained platform strategy of splitting their mobile offerings into macOS-based notebooks vs. iOS-based iPhone/iPad tablets. Clearly separated through their distinct interface paradigms (mouse/trackpad on macOS and touch on iOS), Apple has carefully crafted their feature sets and positioning so as to complement and integrate with each other, and not overlap. This has arguably enabled Apple to become most if not the valuable company on the planet. However, it is also this strategy that creates the need for our products in the first place. Two(2) – The niche is too small Just in the last year, Apple generated an estimated $220bn in revenues from over 200m happy customers, whereas our niche represents only a fraction of 1% of their business, and not even that. It is a $1.9bn revenue potential only for us, but not for Apple. We sell transformed Apple base systems, and for every Modbook we sell, we also sell one MacBook for Apple. So Apple would only stand to gain just over half (~$963m) of that potential, hardly worth sacrificing Apple’s competitive advantage over the PC industry (vs. Windows/Android one-OS-fits-all model). As such, we believe that it is highly unlikely that Apple will pursue this, or as Apple CEO’s Tim Cook says: “Apple feels strongly that customers are not looking for a converged Mac and iPad” Competition - Everyone else Currently the protection of our market niche from potential competitors is centered around our unique approach to creating our products. Our Modbooks are, in essence, Macintosh conversion kits that transform genuine Apple MacBook Pro laptop computers into pen-enabled Mac tablets. This not only makes us unique (which is alway valuable) but also makes it exceedingly hard for traditional PC manufacturers to copy us. Most every other PC manufacturer relies on mass production out of asia to build most, if not all, of their component parts in large batch numbers, filling their inventories to last months at a time. Large inventories work fine, if you have a license to build the entire computer, top to bottom. Most every single PC manufacturer today is using this business model, based either on a license from Microsoft (for making Windows PCs) or Google (making Android computers) or any of the UNIX/LINUX systems and their respective licensing models. However, Apple does not license its Mac operating system. The only way to legally create a macOS based computer solution, is by way of producing a Macintosh conversions that will transform a genuine Apple computer into something else, in our case, a Mac pen-tablet computer. Large inventories for conversion kits are a very (very) bad idea. The moment there is a change in the product for which the kit is designed, and we see Apple (like most every other PC manufacturer) update/change their products every 6-12 months, that inventory has just become obsolete and the associated capital expense is on a fast-ticking timer to depreciate or be lost. We spent a long time trying different approaches, product designs, and manufacturing process combinations, until we developed our very own, proprietary version of Just-In-Time manufacturing, with under 10 days in inventory for the current Modbook Pro, and an expected 6 days in inventory for the Modbook Pro X. Using a 100% US-based manufacturing and assembly line, we believe to have worked out not only how to build one or a handful of conversion kits for one particular Apple computer, but do so for a line of Apple products and on a commercial production level scale. This is what constitutes our key barrier to entry anyone looking to enter our market space and compete with us would have to overcome.

The
Problem

Creative Mac professionals need a tablet for more than standard office software and content consumption. For them, a pen is an essential part of their creative process. They need a tablet to act as a full-featured, professional desktop with workstation-level performance to run power hungry creative software applications. Their desire to combine pen capabilities and portability of the iOS platform or a Windows-based pen tablet with the power and performance of the macOS platform, force creative professionals to patch together individual “almost” solutions and force their workflows around them. When creatives need pen capabilities and portability together with the power and performance of the macOS platform, Apple recommends purchasing a Mac for the creative pro apps and for pen use, either an iPad or a third-party solution such as a windows based tablet, and using all of them in tandem. Such “almost” solutions leave creative Mac professionals on their own to build, maintain, and troubleshoot the most critical links in their workflow. For creative Mac users, inefficient workarounds, forced upon them by their “almost” solutions, hinder their workflow performance, as well as their ability to effectively and efficiently work in the highly mobile environment their clients demand. Creatives are generally being paid by the deliverables they produce, not by the time they spend working on them. Any factor that streamlines their workflow will directly impact their earning potential, profitability and livelihood.

The
Solution

We make the macOS tablets Apple won't — pen-enabled, tablet-to-laptop convertibles for power and creative Mac users hungry for the portable workstation-class performance no iPad can offer. Our upcoming Modbook Pro X is an enclosure Macintosh conversion that transforms a genuine, top-of-the-line Apple Retina 15.4-inch MacBook Pro into a 2-in-1 convertible, pen-enabled Mac OS X tablet/laptop. The ultimate tablet computer, the Pro X offers a crisp 15.4-inch Retina-display screen, massive power and pro-quality graphics, pen and tablet performance, making it the most versatile and capable mobile tablet computer on the market. Designed by Mac creatives for Mac creatives, the Pro X is purpose built to specifically fill the needs of the estimated 369,000 Mac professionals that spent $1.85 billion in 2016 on patched-together "almost" workaround solutions. Modbook’s Pro X systems are sensibly priced to the same combined cost of the “almost” solutions they are designed replace. We are not making a VW Beetle for the mass market, we are building the equivalent of a Ford F-450 Super Duty Pickup Truck with the full SuperCrew cabin, V8 engine, and the extra long truck bed. That vehicle makes little sense for the vast majority of car buyers, but the professionals whose livelihood depends on it, couldn’t imagine making a business investment in anything else.