Companies such as Microsoft and Samsung have created products that feature touchscreens for years now, and are continuing to improve the touchscreen experience for consumers. Apple, however, has publicly stated that it has no plans to incorporate such technology into MacBook computers, at least for the foreseeable future.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, once said that the idea is “absurd,” and that the incorporation of touchscreen technology into MacBook products would completely ruin the experience for those using the trackpad or a mouse.
Despite Apple’s staunch stance regarding touchscreens, Neonode disagrees, and has released a product that enables users to use their MacBook screen as a touchscreen.
Announced Tuesday, the new AirBar for MacBook Air is the answer to years of clamoring among a select but sizable group of Apple computer users, as it adds a fully functional touchscreen to any 13-inch MacBook Air.
“The launch of AirBar for MacBook Air is one example of how Neonode’s multisensing technology can change the way we interact with machines,” said Neonode CEO, Thomas Eriksson. “The positive response we have seen for AirBar strengthens us in our conviction that our technology is becoming increasingly relevant. It is also a proof point of Neonode’s ability to deliver innovative solutions, standalone or together with our customers.”
The AirBar itself is a small silver bar that attaches to your MacBook Air directly beneath the screen using two small magnets. When positioned and plugged in, the device beams infrared light up and across the screen.
This light is imperceptible to the human eye, but the AirBar can observe when the beams of light are broken and triangulate the location of the user’s finger with proprietary algorithms.
When a finger, stylus, brush, or other object breaks the light, users are able to interact with the screen without actually touching it, including gestures such as tap-to-select, swiping, scrolling, and pinch-to-zoom.
“AirBar for MacBook Air 13.3” retails for $99, and AirBar for Windows 10 in the sizes 13.3”, 14” and 15.6” retails for $79,” reads the report. “For the first time, AirBar can also be purchase in-store from 34 Fry’s Electronics locations and also from a large number of Apple Authorized Resellers across the U.S.”
Check out a BGR video of the AirBar in action below.