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The wait for a touchscreen MacBook is over—kind of

Of course there's a catch.


Posted on Jan 5, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 6:29 am CDT

I can’t count the number of times someone has reached out and accidentally pressed a link on my screen, unknowing of its touchscreen functionality.

“Wow, that’s cool,” they usually say with genuine surprise.

Yes, it is, but it’s also not new, having been popularized by the unpopular Windows 8 operating system several years ago. Of course, I can’t blame them for not having owned a touchscreen computer, since many folks have been locked in to the reliable and capable arms of Apple’s offerings for years.

Even though Apple made the touchscreen-dependent smartphone and tablet what they are today, MacBook users haven’t known the wonders of using a pen to scribble notes on a laptop screen. 

That is, until now.

The AirBar, revealed at CES, is a sold-separately add-on sensor bar for the Apple MacBook Air. It sits directly under the display and connects via USB. It uses a light field to track your finger’s movement as you swipe and tap through the field.

A Windows version of the AirBar started selling for $69 last year for both 13- and 15-inch laptops. The new 13-inch MacBook Air version will start at $99. The company says models for other MacBooks will be released at a later time.

As neat as this device sounds, no touchscreen will make Apple’s operating system any more touch-friendly, and it certainly won’t allow the screen to fold back into a tablet. Just some things to consider before using up one of those very precious ports.


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*First Published: Jan 5, 2017, 1:24 pm CST