A touchscreen on a MacBook may not be coming anytime soon but if you really wish for it, then there is an alternative for you. AirBar is a $99 (roughly Rs. 6,700) accessory that connects to your MacBook Air via its USB port. Its a magnetic sensor that rests below the display on the MacBook Air.
The AirBar doesn’t attach an additional screen to your MacBook Air. Its sensors appear to detect motion near the screen to help you simulate a touchscreen. That’s why, its maker Neonode claims, AirBar works with fingers or even a paintbrush.
The downside is that it uses a USB port on your MacBook Air, which only has two of those ports. For most people giving that up is not an option and it’ll probably end up being connected to a USB hub.
AirBar for MacBook Air is the new product but the company has been selling this accessory for 15.6-inch Windows laptops. Those are priced at $69 (roughly Rs. 4,700). At CES 2017, AirBar announced the new variant that works with the 13.3-inch MacBook Air and a variant for 14-inch laptops.
If you buy the AirBar, which is expected to be available in March 2017, you aren’t going to be able to use it with a MacBook Pro. The product requires at least 17mm of space below the display and that means it will cover a small part of the MacBook Pro’s display. The company plans to make it available for other MacBook models in the future. In a statement, the company said, “AirBar for MacBook Air is available for pre-order at www.air.bar/mac, and will also be sold on Amazon.com. Neonode plans to extend AirBar compatibility to additional MacBook models and PC sizes within the first half of 2017.”
If you’ve always wanted to use your MacBook Air as a device for drawing, this could be a cost-effective way to do so. However, most illustrators would probably prefer an iPad Pro or a Microsoft Surface Studio.