Make an Apple Tablet before Apple does

[Andrew] wanted a tablet computer but is tired of waiting for Apple to come up with one. eBay and Craig’s list to the rescue, he picked up some parts and built his own tablet. You can take a look at the video tour of it after the break, or peruse parts one, two, three, and four of his work log.

The unit is assembled from a 500 MHz iBook. [Andrew] picked up a touchscreen from ebay and canibalized a USB joystick in order to add some buttons to the keyboard-less design. The end product is quite nice. We’ve wanted a tablet computer to hang on the wall for a long time and this may be the inspiration that gets us there.

Do you find this didn’t satisfy your Apple tablet fix? There’s more to be seen in our mac tablets roundup.


  1. Jordan says:

    First post! Woo-hoo!

  2. Parker says:

    Would be better with Mac Mini guts. Great job.

  3. Parker says:

    I meant Macbook Air. Sorry

  4. dan says:

    You can already buy Apple Tablets on Amazon, look:

  5. underdesign says:

    Total cost of this one, parts and all: $200. Beat that price!

  6. xrazorwirex says:

    dan FTW

  7. ak77 says:
  8. camerin says:

    he needs to debounce the buttons. it helps allot

  9. elek says:


    Sued by Apple in 3…2…

  10. Scooby says:

    I like the DIY-ness of this, but if you’re looking for affordability with OEM polish, get a Windows tablet and hack OS X onto it to replace the default OS. I’m running OS X 10.5.6 as one of my bootable options on my Aspire One netbook.

  11. ak77 says:


    they’ve been making them since the powerbook days. First Sale laws, and all that..

  12. Jeff says:

    ThinkPad X60 with OSX. Done.

  13. Rob says:

    If you’re going to the trouble of hacking all this together anyway, why ruin it by installing OS X? That’s like building your own car, and never driving it over 40.

  14. uzerzero says:

    I wish Apple would start selling these. I’d rather have a tablet computer like this then a giant ten inch iPhone.

  15. blobkat says:

    This is a very nice hack, nice and small.

    He would experience the “gorilla arm” problem though after using it a while. He has to hold his arm up while using it and if he has to use it too much he’s going to experience a lot of pain.

    For more info:

    I’d build one into a table preferably, and make it multi-user maybe…

  16. supershwa says:

    Nothing new about any of this — Mac DOES make the “Modbook” tablet (pretty expensive though) and a PC to hang on the wall is far from new.

    A company I worked with in the early 2k’s distributed touchscreen kiosk computers that looked similar (though it was the guts of a desktop PC stuffed into a 3″ thick box frame that hung on the wall.)

    Cool project, just don’t claim any of this is “new”. ;p

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      actually, the modbook is not made by mac. It is just a really expensive aftermarket mod. While this may not be “new” we enjoy seeing good implementations of ideas, even if they’re old.

      This one is just touch screen right? As you could probably tell by my contribution before, pressure sensitivity is a must for graphic designers. That is one thing the modbook really got right.

  17. blobkat says:

    I think the modbook has a reasonable price for a 512 levels pen device.

    The Wacom cintiq 12″ goes for about $1000 right now, and then you still need a computer.

  18. chris says:

    Buying an apple product is like joining a cult!

  19. google TV says:

    It uses the current most advanced ARM cortex-A8 core processor in the mobile internet equipment. |

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