Ambient PC Concept. Credit: Intel
The touchbar of the future has a display you can use when your laptop is closed. At least, that's what Intel's Ambient PC concept suggests. It turns the touchpad into a flexible OLED that shows some apps and information even when the machine is shut.
Your laptop, the theory goes, holds lots of important information, but it's inaccessible when you close the lid. In a demo at Computex in Taipei, an Intel engineer showed me his calendar on the small display and was able to control Spotify. It even shows Alexa queries from Amazon's digital assistants.
The display actually covers the entire touchpad, but the rep told me they opted not to do anything experimental there, as others in the space are already going it. (Asus' ScreenPad comes to mind.) To keep it from consuming too much battery life, the OLED display is powered by a, low-powered Atom processor separate from the main processor.
Intel has been working on this profotype for about a year and a half, I was told, but representatives couldn't say if OEMs would build it into their designs.