Do you think the backlit keyboard will come back to the MBA???

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by MBABuyer, May 8, 2011.

  1. macrumors regular

    May 4, 2011
    Do you think the backlit keyboard will come back to the MBA, in the next release (June, as many people think)???

  2. macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
  3. macrumors regular


    Oct 8, 2010
    I hope so, even as an option in the 13" model. The original three revisions had it and were of comparable size.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2008
    London, UK
    Doubt it. With the MacBook Pros set to become more MacBook Air like... I'm guess Apple would want to keep backlight keys as a 'pro' feature.
  5. macrumors member

    Jan 8, 2011
    UC San Diego
  6. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Do I think it will? No.

    Do I want it to? Sure.

    Am I creditable source? Not in the least.

    Reasons why it might?
    - High demand/Popular Feature (at least, it seems that way)
    - Assuming the new MBA goes SB with no Nvidia/AMD GPU, it may be cheaper to manufacture. This would allow Apple to squeeze the backlit keyboard into the design, while still allowing them to operate in their desired profit margins.
    - Maybe if battery life significantly improves, the backlit keyboard wouldn't be too much of a burden (and yes, I know you can turn it off)
    - Maybe if the backlit keyboard technology improves (less power intensive, thinner design)

    Reasons why it might not?
    - Not enough demand/not a popular enough feature (I have no statistics)
    - The design is still too thin/backlit keyboards are too thick
    - Apple wants to differentiate their Pro line from their Air line
    - Not having it at all guarantees longer/better battery
    - Too expensive/cuts into profit margins

    *I've never used a backlit keyboard before
  7. macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2010
    If apple changed the keys to white then that would help eliminate the need for a backlit keyboard, unless you have your screen brightness stupidly low.

    I find it easy typing on an apple wireless keyboard in a dark room with my acd at 50% brightness.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
  9. macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Sure hope so, but don't expect it, think as it was said above we will have to wait for MacBook pro redesign.

    The air is selling well without it .
  10. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Apple has removed seemingly key added features from products before just to replace them in the next version. Apple always seems to think incremental changes to maximize sales.

    I don't feel that the backlit keyboard would cost Apple more than one USD per MBA. It cannot use much power at all and I don't believe it affects thickness either.

    However, it is possible that Apple is using it as a strategic upgrade feature to sell more MBPs, but I doubt that too. I believe Apple could introduce a new form of illuminated keyboard in the next MBA. I think there was a patent application that revealed something new.

    It might just come down to the role of the MacBook. If Apple keeps selling the a basic MacBook, it would make sense to use an illuminated keyboard on the MBA. If the MBA 11" becomes the MacBook replacement, then leaving the feature off makes more sense.

    I hope it comes back as I miss it dearly. I definitely think at least the ultimate 13" MBA at $1799 should have the feature. At least an option would please most of us who are willing to pay for the features we want.
  11. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    That's an interesting point. What if the letters were printed on the keys with some kind of reflective ink that would make them "glow" from the LCD backlight?
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Aug 18, 2005
    I'm going to miss it too :( Not for actual typing, as I can type blind. But just for those times when watching a movie, reading something etc with no hands on the keyboard, and then the need arises to press a key. E.g. changing the screen brightness, changing volume, subtitle delay, etc. It's really hard to see where the keys are if you just quickly need to tap a single key. I always end up straining to see which is the right one. Especially with the function keys because I don't know them by heart. The fact that the symbols are grey on black doesn't help, they're very low contrast.

    I loved the backlit keyboard on my MBP for this reason, I always had them set to the lowest setting and it was great like that. Not intrusive at all but seriously helpful in the evenings.

    I do think Apple will bring it back, I'm sure it won't cost a lot and the thickness implications will be minimal if they use some kind of Electroluminescent foil. I hope they just had to redesign it and left it until the next update.
  13. gri, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 16, 2011

    macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2004
    New York City, aka Big Apple
    I sure do hope so and second Scottsdale's comment. A BL KB is the most reasonable thing in a mobile platform that might be use in dark environments when either typing blindly even doesn't help or it might be used by someone who cannot type blindly (like yours truly - but still fast). No idea why they took it out, I doubt its battery life (just switch it out) or even thickness. I rather have the MBA 1 mm thicker with it than 1 mm thinner and without it.
  14. macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    My guess is no.

    If Apple plans to keep the same design -- which I think they will since they usually stick to one design for a few years -- then I don't foresee back light keys being added onto the Air. However, maybe the lack of back lighting has nothing to do with whether the Air has enough space or not, and more so with prices or battery life? I don't know.

    I wouldn't expect to see it.

    I think the more important thing to look for is what SSD and RAM base options Apple will offer...
  15. macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2010
    Seriously can we have a poll or something and then bury the issue forever?

    1. Won't buy without it.
    2. Would be nice.
    3. Don't care.

    I've had one backlit keyboard in the past and I thought it was pointless and gimmicky. If I can find the volume/playlist contol function keys on my iMac's wireless keyboard next to my bed in the dark while drunk, you can figure it out too.
  16. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    Another pointless response. :)
  17. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    I would be very disappointed if it only is brought back to the 13.3" model. I can see Apple doing that, differentiate between the two models,
    since that might get some people to buy both (or simply spend more money to get the 13.3" version).

    They are both the same thickness, however, and that gives me hope that they may bring it back to both versions of the MBA.

    I'd definitely upgrade if the 11.6" MBA gets a BLK (regardless of price).
  18. macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2010
    In the dark, I use only one square of brightness to not disturb my wife. I do not consider that stupid.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Lord Appleseed

    Nov 7, 2010
    Apple Manor
    These BL-keyboad threads are like cancer.

    Another pointless response, to a pointless response, to a pointless post/thread.

    On Topic: I'd like it too but it's not here, yes it might come back, we'll see.
  20. macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    I hope they bring it back just to end all the threads like this one.

    Personally, it's a useless feature. I use my MBA in the dark all the time and have never really felt like I wanted a backlit keyboard...
  21. macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 30, 2008
    I'm really hoping that it'll come back. I passed on this latest refresh, so I told myself the next update is the one to get.
  23. macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2011
  24. macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    They are already printed with reflective ink in the Rev D (i.e. 2010). Not like mirror-shine-reflective, but they are certainly silver-coloured and not white. And yes - I can see all the letters in the glow from the LCD backlight in the dark. I cannot see the symbols on the function keys, though, since these keys are too close to the bezel.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    I am really sick of seeing so many threads about this. We could have an entire sub-forum!!

    Can we make this a sticky please, at least until the next update comes out? It seems people obviously have the inability to search about 5 threads previously to find this being discussed already.

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