backlit keyboard mba

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by leonw, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    leonw

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    #1
    I know there are many opinions on this subject but I wonder about a few things: why threw apple the backlit keyboard on the mba out in the first place? Was it: -space
    -battery life
    -weight
    -costs
    and is there any chance they might throw it in again? It's worth the wait for me.
    Using an 13"mbp from a friend now. The 11"mba would be more than good enough for my needs but i would really miss the backlit keyboard.
    I'm no good at typing and most of the time I live without electricity so the backlit keyboard is a great feature to me in the winter/evenings.
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #2
    If you want an Apple laptop with a backlit keyboard and an SSD Apple does have a solution for you (the 13" MBP with a BTO SSD). Unfortunately this will cost a good deal more than the 11" MBA.

    You can't always get what you want, but if you're willing to make some compromises you can usually get what you need.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Caliber26

    Joined:
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    Orlando, FL
    #3
    I hope this is by choice?? If not, then an Apple notebook should be the last of your concerns right now. If this isn't the case, then you might want consider a previous-generation SSD MBA which does have a backlit keyboard.
     
  4. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Merseyside
    #4
    Also if you like without electricity you'd want one less thing to drain the battery on the laptop.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    leonw

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    #5
    I do have a windgenerator so i do have electricity sometimes. The thing is I rather use it on the mba then lighting up the 'whole house' and therefore the backlit keyboard is useful to me when sitting in the dark.
    Better to use the mba 15 minutes less because of backlit battery drain than not seeing what I am doing.
    But my question was why it was thrown out in the first place and what could be a reason for apple to put it back.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    #6
    MBA Keyboard Light

    Simple, get a USB LED gooseneck light.

    Problem solved.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #7
    That would be a major inconvenience for me. Who wants to carry anything extra around with the 11.6" MBA. The great level of portability was probably one of the reason the OP bought their 11.6" MBA in the first place.

    The lack of a backlit keyboard is a major step backwards for the MBA in my opinion. What if they no longer included a speaker in it? Would your response then be to 'Just plug in a pair of headphones. Problem solved."?
     
  8. macrumors regular

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    #8
    Only Apple knows for sure, but I suspect it was for battery life. Cutting the screen backlighting to 1/2 instead of full almost doubles your battery life. However, it seems to be the #1 complaint about the current MBA, so I suspect it will return in the next update.

    If this is really a must for you and you want an MBA with a fast drive to get the performance of the new ones, you have at least two options.

    1. Easiest: buy an MBA w/SSD that was made in the last 6 months before the new one came out in 2010. The very last ones made (about May to October 2010) had the fast SSD/flash drive, Apple just didn't announce they had changed the SSD. In the profiler it shows up as "TS128b". All the other Rev C SSDs are "SM128".

    2. Harder, but cheaper: Buy an earlier MBA and get/install OWC's SSD replacement (I think these are for Rev B/C only).
     
  9. leonw, Mar 25, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    thread starter macrumors member

    leonw

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    #9
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    Thanks for some constructive answers.
    If/when I'll buy the 11"mba, it will be the first mac I own. As long as I am in the process of deciding I'll go for the best.Even though I understand that I might have to compromise in the end. Good is often the ennemy of the best (as the gooseneck usb-light I have). And 'do I get what I want' or 'do I have to want what I get...'
    I'll use the mba for light photo/video editing, wordprocessing, tv-tuner(with the elgato eye-tv), websurfing and the like. What I've read on these mba forums will this be no problem for the mba (cpu 1,4ghz, 4gb ram, 128gb).
    What is important to me : weight, size, portability, screen res and last but not least BL keyboard ofcourse.
    I once used an old 13"mba and I wasn't impressed. Probably HDD and not SSD. Didn't know that the last mbaRev had fast SSD. Can it be compared to the new 11"? Does it have a c2d cpu that can do the job (esp the eye-tv which needs an c2d)? Even though I prefer the 11", it might be the compromise in the end then ( if the BL keyboard doesn't come back in the next update).
    And what about the trackpad on the mbaRev. Is it as good as on the new mba? I am not a big consumer and the price is not the most important but the mba not being inexpensive , I'd liked to get most possible luxury out of my money first using it...
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #10
    Option #3, get over it - Buy a glow in the dark keyboard overylay.

    While a lighted keyboard is cool, IMHO it is a nice to have feature, not a necessary feature.
     
  11. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    #11
    Help me understand...why is a BL keyboard so important?
     
  12. AtmChm, Mar 25, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    macrumors regular

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    #12
    Yes, it is nearly comparable from the benchmarks I have seen to the "flash drives" in both the 11" and 13" MBA. In my opinion, it is probably the exact same flash drive they are using in the current version.

    Yes, the Rev C MBA only came in two configurations: a 1.8 GHz C2D with an HDD, and a 2.13 GHz C2D with an SSD.

    I think so. I have the late Rev C that I am talking about, and the new "magic trackpad" that I use with my iMac. I really don't notice any difference. The one specific difference is that the Rev C MBA trackpad has the long bar button on the bottom for clicking, while the new MBA (and the MBP) has no button - you have to push down on the bottom of the trackpad itself for a "click".

    One word of caution with the elgato eyetv. The "Hybrid" version pushes all the processing onto the computer's cpu, so it can be pretty cpu intensive. If you use this, you may find the MBA gets pretty hot. I believe it is the eyetv 250 that has the processor in the device, thus not taxing the computer's cpu. In either case, I think you want the fast "flash/SSD" drive version since the files the eyetv create are quite large, so there is a lot of disk activity while you are recording.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

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    #13
    I know, but, you can turn it off, so you'd have the option, I think it's gone for good, as a cost cutting move,and as a battery drain:cool:
     
  14. Cheffy Dave, Mar 25, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    macrumors 68020

    Cheffy Dave

    Joined:
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    #14
    Easiest: buy an MBA w/SSD that was made in the last 6 months before the new one came out in 2010. The very last ones made (about May to October 2010) had the fast SSD/flash drive, Apple just didn't announce they had changed the SSD. In the profiler it shows up as "TS128b". All the other Rev C SSDs are "SM128".

    Wow ATMCHM, I never knew that, see,you're never to old to learn:eek:
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #15
    Because some people — myself being one of them — just plain suck out loud at typing. In the dark? Forget about it.

    People will inevitably chime in with the "learn to type" argument but the thing is, for me anyway, when I'm engaged in a writing project I spend 90% of my time thinking about what I'm going to write and the other 10% percent actually writing, so I have no pressing need to bang out 800 words per minute. ;)

    Back to OP. My guess (hope) is the BL keys will be back and that the design/engineering work was/is done during development of the "rev D" Airs and can be relatively easily implemented as a rolling change at the manufacturing level for a future update. The BL keys (and a few other small features) were probably left out in order to hit a desired cost and retail price-point so the new MBA wouldn't suffer the same fate as the original MBA: poor sales due to high price.

    In other words: the BL Keyboard was a planned omission for "rev D" and not something they'll need to go back to the drawing board on.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors member

    leonw

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    #16
    Never heard of this before. Checked their website and it looks too good to be true (so it ain't true than???). Good is simple.
    My first choice would be the 11" so if this is as good as it seems than this could be the compromise I can live with. I'll definitely give it a chance.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors member

    leonw

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    #17
    I'm using the Elgato DTT right now on the borrowed 13"mbp (2,13ghz,HDD, 2009). It works great but the mbp gets really hot and it drains the battery (even not recording) but that's what I expected. As long as the mbaRev C or the 11" can do the job, it's ok for me. Maybe the SSD will be an improvement?

    Good you mentioned the long bar button on the Rev. I'd forgotten about that and it was one of the minor things I didn't like.
    Even the mbp I'm using now is a pleasure compared to the pc's I've been using til now so whether it will be the Rev C or the 11"mba I'll end up with, I will be pleased anyway. It's just sorting out my priorities.
    Thanks for some good advice. Never too old to learn me neither...
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2004
    #18
    One thing I'd want to be sure about the RevC MBA is that the Elgato Device would fit the USB port. I feel like with the Elgato's thickness, it may not fit the port (the flip-down door would get in the way, IMHO).
     
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Beanoir

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    #19
    Oh I love this debate i really do.

    No backlit keyboard, as somebody quite intelligently posted above....you can't have it all.
     
  20. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2004
    #20
    Yeah, but you can't really compare the 11" MBA with the 13" MBP.

    The 13" MBP 2.3Ghz i5 processor with 128GB SSD costs $1449 USD. Almost the same price as the 13" MBA with 4GB of RAM ($1399 USD). Those two machines would compare better - the MBA has a better resolution/more portability, and the MBP will stomp the MBA in all benchmarks 'cept for Windows 7/OSX Gaming.

    ... well except that we DID have it all. For 3 years MBA owners had 3 lbs, 13" screen, AND backlit keyboard. In 2010 Apple (I'm assuming to hit that $999 price-point) took the BL keyboard away.

    And I'm with everyone else that thinks/hopes the BL Keyboard'll be back in the next rev of the MBA.
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Beanoir

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    #21
    .....yawn
     
  22. WesCole, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

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    Texas
    #22
    I hope they bring back the backlit keyboard; I will be all over these. Unfortunately, I start summer school at my university on June 1. The Samsung Series 9 laptops are really looking good to me, too. Guess I will have to wait and see if I can hold out a little bit and hope Apple releases an Air update in June.
     
  23. macrumors member

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    Jan 12, 2011
    #23
    Maybe it's just me, but I can still see what the keys are when the screen is lit up.

    :confused:
     
  24. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    #24
    If the backlit keyboard is thicker than the current MBA keyboard, then I'm pretty sure backlit won't be in the refresh. I just don't see Apple changing the MBA chassis at all in order to accommodate a backlit keyboard. They will just soldier on with the current chassis. However, if the backlit keyboard is the same thickness as the un-backlit one, then yes, there is a chance backlit will return in the refresh.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors member

    leonw

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    #25
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    Well, that's just you ;-(
    I can see the keys but not what's on them.
    One of the reasons I started using Mac was the 'userfriendly' policy. Taking out the BL keys is the opposite.
    I wondered whether it was because of the battery drain but as someone mentioned: you can turn the BL off. In fact: now I use more battery because I have to use 100% BL screen to see what's on the keys. So it's counterproductive (and I don't even see properly what's on the keys).
    I can't imagine it was because of the weight (20 grams maybe???).
    Maybe it was because of lack of space??? What do I know.
    Or the $$$ as someone said. To get it at 999$ (which isn't that cheap, considering it has no BL keys...)
    Whatever apple saved, it didn't outweigh
    the loss imo.

    Their are solutions: gooseneck usb-light, 13"( not 11") mba Rev C ,'glow in the dark' keystickers, learn to touchtype, I even took a photo of the keyboard and use it as my
    desktop background (swipe four fingers up on the trackpad and there it is...).
    All good solutions but ennemy of the one and only best solution:
    the cool, userfriendly BACKLIT KEYBOARD!!!
     

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