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Tablet Mac draws bidders on eBay

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Tired of waiting for Apple's long-rumoured tablet Mac to ship? Then US-based hardware mod project site, ThePlaceforitAll.com, may have the answer. It today offered the first of 100 12in iBooks re-tooled as a tablet, complete with stylus and touch-sensitive screen.

The so-called iTabs - née iTablet, changed for legal reasons - are being modified on a one-by-one basis. The process essentially involves fixing down the laptop's lid after removing the LCD and mounting the touch-sensitive panel in the upper surface. A power button connects through to the one usually found above the iBook's keyboards, and there's a stylus holder attached to the side.

ThePlaceforitAll.com is selling each iTablet on eBay as they roll off the production line. You can check out the bidding, which starts at $1,500, here. 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.

ThePlaceforitAll.com 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".

And with the lid fixed shut, there's no keyboard, of course. Alas, acknowledges ThePlaceforitAll.com, the touch-screen isn't compatible with Mac OS X's InkWell technology, which provides gesture recognition for graphics tablets. The site suggests a couple of utilities that buyers can use instead, but neither are bundled with the machine - that $1,500 (or whatever the bidding ends on) will only go so far, it seems.

ThePlaceforitAll.com 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. ®

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