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After originally launching for PC laptops, Neonode has now announced the launch of its "AirBar" dongle for the 13-inch MacBook Air. AirBar is a magnetically-attached strip that connects to the MacBook via USB-A and allows users to interact with Apple's laptop through gestures and controls that mimic touchscreen-enabled computers.

Users don't have to download or install additional software to use the AirBar -- Neonode said that the device "instantly activates" when plugged into the MacBook. With the company's patented "zForce AIR technology," AirBar emits an invisible array of lights over the MacBook's screen, which senses touch and movement from fingers, gloves, and even paintbrushes. With it, users can gesture in front of the MacBook Air's screen to swipe, scroll, and pinch and zoom.

"We believe the community of devoted MacBook Air users will welcome this new product, as AirBar for MacBook Air will surely enhance the user-experience of an already great product," said Remo Behdasht, Senior Vice President of AirBar Devices at Neonode. "Our goal for AirBar continues to be expanding its application to more devices, across even more markets."
Because of the required bezel space below the MacBook screen (17mm specifically) and the need for USB-A, Neonode said that "at this point" AirBar is only being sold for the 13-inch MacBook Air.

AirBar for MacBook Air will come in brushed aluminum and cost $99 on Amazon when it launches sometime in early March. Pre-order notifications can be set up on Neonode's website. Currently, AirBar for 15.6-inch PC laptops costs $69, and the company plans to launch a new 14-inch PC version alongside the MacBook Air-compatible device.

Article Link: CES 2017: 'AirBar' Gives MacBook Air Touchscreen Gestures Through Light-Sensing Technology
 

Appleaker

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
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It's very cool to see official support for MacBooks. Hopefully they'll be able to do the same for other models.
 
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2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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I use a desktop imac and something like this just won't work. My keyboard and my hands are not within reach of the screen. On a laptop it is more useful but not all that necessary when you have the touchpad. on the macbook air, I rarely reach for the screen. Interestingly, however, I have a keyboard on my ipad and it is very natural to reach for the screen. I think its because the keys are much closer to the screen and there is no touchpad. This makes me think that of we got rid of the humongous touchpad on the laptops and moved the keys a little closer to the screen that touch would be more acceptable. Will be interesting to hear from buyers of this device in about 6 month to see how much they still use it.
 

TechViking

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Mar 3, 2009
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I can't imagine a scenario where using this makes more sense than using a mouse. Also, USB? How about BT? Wired "air bar" seems like a silly purchase. Then again maybe I'm old and curmudgeony.

Have a look at the video for the PC model for other use cases:


Painting with fingers or a paintbrush is pretty cool.

It's pretty handy to have touch screen functionality for when chilling in bed with the laptop and watching movies, surfing the web, reading macrumors. Basically use the laptop as an iPad, but with the added benifit of running OS X.

Bluetooth would be cool but would need an included battery, which would have to be charged. With USB it does not need a battery and the device can thus be smaller and fit below the screen.

Edit: I have the 15.6 inch AirBar model for PCs and was going to try and make it work for my Macbook PRO. Now it seems the company will release a model that supports the MB Pro in first half 2017.
 

besler3035

macrumors 6502a
Oct 29, 2004
532
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Grand Rapids, MI
While I'm not completely sold on the idea of this, what I'm DEFINITELY NOT sold on the idea of is putting this on a MacBook Air, a machine that probably will never see another update.
 

itguy06

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2006
849
1,139
Good idea. In the few weeks I've had my Lenovo I've really gotten to like the touch screen.

Me too. It emulates the way I used to work when I had an iPad - touch + keybaord. Hover the hardware and Windows need some work. There is something to be said about touch with real computer apps. Apple could do wonders with this computing paradigm if they had a visionary at the helm. It could be as simple as adding Pencil support to the Macbooks and a 2-in-1 hinge.
 
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itguy06

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2006
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I doubt it sadly. :( Artists tend to use accurate pressure sensitive styluses and graphics tablets like Wacoms.. Or even the iPad Pro + :apple:pencil. This is just a floaty faux multitouch, which doesn't really have the detail needed to beat even a cheap USB graphics tablet.

For most retouching duties we got along just fine with the mouse and it has no pressure option either. This would be great for that as touching the image and watching it change is better than a mouse click or drwaing on a random space on a graphics tablet.
 

Appleaker

macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
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I use a desktop imac and something like this just won't work. My keyboard and my hands are not within reach of the screen. On a laptop it is more useful but not all that necessary when you have the touchpad. on the macbook air, I rarely reach for the screen. Interestingly, however, I have a keyboard on my ipad and it is very natural to reach for the screen. I think its because the keys are much closer to the screen and there is no touchpad. This makes me think that of we got rid of the humongous touchpad on the laptops and moved the keys a little closer to the screen that touch would be more acceptable. Will be interesting to hear from buyers of this device in about 6 month to see how much they still use it.
That's why they didn't build one for an iMac. While iMac touch solutions exist, they have specific use cases in mind.
On a MacBook Air you rarely reach for the screen because it doesn't have a touch screen. I agree that moving the input methods closer together would increase use but it still isn't exactly natural - that's not to say it isn't useful (because I think it is).
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What am I missing here? Why would I want to do that?
And if Apple implements touch would you say the opposite? Maybe you've never tried a touch screen laptop for a log period of time. A touch screen is useful for quick and direct interaction with the software. No, it isn't something you need to use all the time, but it is useful and convenient to have the option.
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I can't imagine a scenario where using this makes more sense than using a mouse. Also, USB? How about BT? Wired "air bar" seems like a silly purchase. Then again maybe I'm old and curmudgeony.
I agree that it should be Bluetooth but then you would have to worry about charging. The best solution would be for Apple to implement touch. It is more natural that using a mouse for something like scrolling, pressing icons, zooming, etc.
 

shamino

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2004
3,431
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Purcellville, VA
Looks interesting. I have definitely caught myself trying to swipe/pinch my Air's screen (especially if I was previously using my iPad for a while). I don't know if the price is low enough for to justify my use, but I would definitely like to try it out.

I have two big questions here. Is there any chance of getting one for an 11" Air (what I use?) And can you close the laptop's lid without removing it? Sadly, I'm guessing that the answers are going to be "no" and "no".
 

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,255
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Manhattan
It's far more satisfying to just forgo overpriced Apple laptops and buy one of the quality PC's out there with a touchscreen. On the higher end models (but still far cheaper than a Macbook Pro) you'll be able to view the 4K content that you edit--in actual 4K.
 

Mildredop

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2013
2,464
1,505
I can't imagine a scenario where using this makes more sense than using a mouse. Also, USB? How about BT? Wired "air bar" seems like a silly purchase. Then again maybe I'm old and curmudgeony.
I haven't even watched the video but I'm guessing it is powered via USB.
 

itguy06

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2006
849
1,139
It's far more satisfying to just forgo overpriced Apple laptops and buy one of the quality PC's out there with a touchscreen. On the higher end models (but still far cheaper than a Macbook Pro) you'll be able to view the 4K content that you edit--in actual 4K.

As much as I hate to say it, you're right. After 14 years of Mac ownership, I tried the PC world after Christmas and bought a 4k Yoga 710. Neat machine and touch is better than I thought. Windows still has issues but they are not that bad.

Sadly though it's going back because of the poor battery life and that PS only supports pen input for brushes. In its place the new Spectere x350 15" has been pre-ordered. Should be better than the 15" MBP and a boat load cheaper too.
 

mixel

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2006
1,714
946
Leeds, UK
For most retouching duties we got along just fine with the mouse and it has no pressure option either. This would be great for that as touching the image and watching it change is better than a mouse click or drwaing on a random space on a graphics tablet.
Not really? I'd take a graphics tablet over this any day. (You can see where your pointer is before making contact with a tablet, it only takes a moment's practice to to be intuitive. You never look away from the screen..) I'd even take a (hypothetical) non- pressure sensing tablet over it, to avoid getting finger prints or even scratches on a screen that wasn't built with that in mind..
 

OneMike

macrumors 603
Oct 19, 2005
5,747
1,671
I can't imagine a scenario where using this makes more sense than using a mouse. Also, USB? How about BT? Wired "air bar" seems like a silly purchase. Then again maybe I'm old and curmudgeony.

Depends how you use a computer. I can think of a lot of uses for touchscreen.

BT is probably impractical for battery life due to the power it uses.
 
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