To the untrained eye the evolution of technology can appear to be a rather futile oscillation. We had laptops. Then we threw away their keyboards and worked only on a screen. Then we decided touchscreen typing on tablets was annoying, so brought back a physical keyboard and added supports to hold the screen at that trusty old laptop screen angle that made so much sense… All of which probably says a lot more about human nature than technology evolution but no matter. Meet Modus III: it’s a home for your iPad that promises to iron out tablet productivity niggles by giving your slate a laptop/desktop-esque workstation to live in.
Modus III is currently only a prototype. Its creators are looking to raise $95,000 on Kickstarter to make this laptop-recreating portable workstation a reality — a distant goal at this early stage in their campaign which runs for another 31 days. Aren’t there already plenty of keyboard cases for iPads? Yes, there are. But Modus III does include some additional features that make it stand out. Or rather stand up. Using Modus III, it is apparently possible to position the iPad screen in the following, possibly more ergonomically friendly configuration (if you’re concerned about your typing posture inducing neck-ache. You may, however, get arm-ache reaching up to tap the screen):
(Looking at that get-up it’s hard not to wonder what Steve Jobs might have said if he was still around to cast his eye over the Modus III. Probably something like this.)
The Modus III workstation supports a 180 degree range screen viewing angle. Your iPad is housed in a custom, clip-in module that then clicks into place in the workstation, which includes a built in Bluetooth keyboard, iPhone/smartphone dock (so your phone can double as a miniature second screen), a space for your charger cables and presumably a few other bits and pieces like the rear stand bracket required to hoist the workstation into the above position.
Isn’t Modus III rather large? The case dimensions are: 1.2″ x 11.5″ x 15.75″. So yes, if you want a portable keyboard case to carry around with you, Modus III does look like a fair bit more luggage than if you just took your iPad and threw a Bluetooth keyboard into your bag. Or used one of the smaller, dedicated keyboard cases on the market. (Or — what the heck — just used a MacBook Air.) So really this looks like something that’s better suited to staying at home on the desk. But maybe that’s exactly the kind of workstation you’ve been looking for? The basic configuration is at least relatively little additional weight (2.4 lbs) to carry around if you do want to move it, being made of an aluminium frame and plastic casing.
The tablet clip-in system is modular, which means it can accommodate different slates. Modus III’s creators say they plan to add support for Android and Windows tablets in future. The launch workstation will be compatible with the iPad 2, 3 and 4. Backers can also choose an iPad 5 module at no extra cost. It will also accommodate all iPhones and micro USB Android phones.
The Modus III’s price-tag is currently $169 for early Kickstarter backers. If you want more fancy case materials to clad your slate, options include carbon fiber, wood burl and MSRP but fancier finishes push the price up — in some cases considerably. You can even choose a custom pattern if you’re willing to stump up an eye-watering $999. But there is, as they say, no accounting for taste.