The installation process involves putting a couple magnets on the laptop to hold the AirBar in place. Once that’s done, all you have to do it plug it into a USB port and the device emits a light field over the display to pick up you touch navigation, pinch-to-zoom and scrolling gestures. Of course, you’ll have to remove it to completely close your laptop, but the addition of touch with a relatively painless install process makes a solid case for the add-on.
I tried the AirBar on a MacBook Air here at CES and it performed well navigating around Google Maps and Paintbrush on OS X. Unfortunately, the unit on display is a working prototype so I wasn’t able to test zoom and scrolling functionality. The company says you can also use a physical object to handle input — something like a stylus or even a paintbrush. Right now, there’s only the one size for one Apple laptop, but the plan is to expand the line with more sizes that accommodate more computers.
If you’re looking to outfit your 13-inch MacBook Air with an AirBar, you’ll be able to do so in March. The accessory will be available on Amazon at that time for $99 –a $30 premium over the existing PC version.
Nathan Ingraham contributed to this report.
Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.