Macs and OS X have a reputation of being the preferred hardware and platform of designers, but quite ironically, there is not a single official Apple computer that comes with an integrated Wacom display. Perhaps Apple considers it unnecessary because Wacom’s Cintiq displays work perfectly with Macs anyway. But there is still a class of people that want to get the best of both worlds, like this latest hack that puts Apple’s latest operating system inside a Cintiq Companion 2 tablet, though not everything is fine and dandy just yet.
The Cintiq Companion 2 is just the latest in Wacom’s attempt to take its Cintiq displays into the realm of independent tablet computers. The tablet runs on an Intel Core processor with 4 to 16 GB of RAM and a 13.3-inch 2560 x 1440 WQHD display. When attached to a PC or a Mac, the Cintiq Companion 2 functions like any other Cintiq display, mirroring the computer’s display. But it can also be used on its own with Windows 8 running inside.
Almost perfect for designers and artists perhaps except for that last part. Some prefer to run Apple’s OS, which is exactly what is being done here. Installing OS X on the tablet is quite involved, but for really enthusiastic users, it might be worth the risk. Unsurprisingly, not everything is working yet. Sleep and the hardware volume rocker are reported to not work. The full-sized SD card reader doesn’t either but the microSD one does. But perhaps the biggest deal breaker is Wi-Fi not working, likely because the tablet’s Wi-Fi chip might not be supported by OS X. Everything else, however, seems to work and the most important part, the stylus and pressure sensitivity, is just fine.
While tempting, those attempting such a journey should be aware that none of it is supported by Apple. The very version of OS X Yosemite used might very well be the “Hackintosh” flavor. It isn’t the only option around, though. Modbook is another popular project that goes about it another way. It takes a MacBook or MacBook Pro and takes it apart and slaps on a Wacom digitizer on top to produce the same effect. That said, a complete Modbook Pro costs around $3,000 while the price for a Cintiq Companion 2 is just around $1,300. The Cintiq Companion hack also has the Wacom side buttons that artists are familiar and comfortable with.