MBA keyboard - White vs. Black

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Veinticinco, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. Veinticinco macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #1
    Firstly hello, long-time lurker and even longer (10-year +) Mac advocate/zealot, thought it was time to dip my toe in the guppy-infested waters of the MR forum.....:p

    Apologies in advance for such a frivolous, shallow, aesthetic thread amongst the mighty technical debates about chipsets and PIF connectors, but I'm new and we are talking about an MBA here ;)

    The black keyboard. Something that bothered me from launch last year, and still hasn't grown on me to be honest, even now just having finally taken custody of my new rev B.

    I understand that some say there were problems with the silver backlit keyboards used in the old G4 PBs and later MBPs (something about light 'bleeding' making the keys unrecognisable), but my PB had one and although it wasn't fantastic, it wasn't an issue as such.

    I also have an old and cherished TiBook which had the similar contrast look, although the translucent black keyboard (with old Apple Garamond font, mmmm....) was a beauty, not at all like the rather dull and insipid black chiclet KB that infests every current Apple laptop bar the new white MB Plastique.

    Now I understand the rationale behind black keys on the new unibodies - matches the black glass screen and bezel, but surely the poor MBA with its silver bezel and supermodel-like proportions is deserving of something a little more elegant no? Not to mention practical. I spent an adulterous and regretful 3 months with a new unibody MB and good god, those keys dazzled me with the shine from my supposedly clean and un-oily fingertips. Something I know is much less of a problem with a white keyboard.

    And then I think, err, hang on....the gorgeous desktop keyboards Apple make look lovely in Alu/White, so why not for the MBA? Still the backlighting 'issue'?

    Well for those wondering how it would look, here's a custom example using a MB, which if you squint and ignore the trackpad could be a silvery-grey unibody....not bad, not bad at all.

    [​IMG]

    Maybe someone could photoshop the MBA using the Apple BT keyboard? Just has the air of elegance about it IMO set off against the Alu and would look fantastic in the body of a MBA.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #3
    I like the black keyboard, it reminds me of the TiBook which also had a revolutionary design at the time :)
     
  3. remobot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    austin, tx
    #4
    someone else posted about a mod they had performed replacing their air's keyboard with the white keyboard from a macbook. at least i think it was a macbook. not sure who posted it or when, but you can try and search for it.

    i prefer the black keys, not enough contrast in the white & aluminum for me, but it's all personal preference.

    are you considering replacing the key's on your air ?
     
  4. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #5
    Indeed it was and i've already mentioned that design nod above. But in reality, the TiBook's translucent keyboard was an aesthete's wet dream compared to to the cheap-n-nasty-looking opaque black chiclet. The old adage is again true....they just don't make 'em like they used to.
     
  5. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #6
    Interesting I may have to search for that.

    Am I considering it? Well I have 2 years warranty (Apple's plus an extra year granted by my card issuer) so I'd be mad to start hacking it to pieces especially if it involved getting the soldering iron out :eek:

    That said, if it's a simpler mod, then I'm not above a little surgery....it is after all, my day job :)
     
  6. svndmvn Guest

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Italy
    #7
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=638011
    that's the thread, but the pictures got lost somehow.. just contact the OP and he should be nice enough to send them or repost them..
    it didn't look too bad, but the backlight was quite "bleeding" since the letters are less transparent than the rest of the keys, if that makes sense.
    EDIT: since the keys are removable I don't see why it'd break your warranty, you can pop them back in, just be careful not to break them, even so I believe Apple Care would kinda cover everything
     
  7. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #8
    Thanks! Can't see how to contact him though, no option to send PM when I click his profile.
     
  8. svndmvn Guest

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Italy
    #9
    that's cause you're a newbie and don't have enough posts.. try resurrecting his thread, post some more in other sections and you'll eventually make it
    PS: google gave me this
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #10
    Thanks, I'd already dug it up - interesting, like the 'glowing ice cube' comment but a disappointing outcome in low light (balanced against a much 'cleaner' elegant look in daylight).

    The backlighting here fails because the MB keys are not made for it, the lettering area is clearly too opaque. Whereas on the old PB/MBP silver keys they were translucent enough, and the effect as I notice every time I use my old PB, was perfect...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. remobot macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Location:
    austin, tx
    #11
    i kind of like the glow from the backlit white keys, but im still not that impressed by the white and aluminum look. i know a lot of people have nostalgia for the old powerbook keyboard style, but i just don't get it, i love the air's black keys.
     
  11. AIRniloc macrumors regular

    AIRniloc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    anozira
    #12
    I'm the OP from the other thread...here are two of the old pics..

    also, i will get around to taking some new photos sometime soon...I have added blue scrim between the top case and and keys, so now the light coming through the keys is light blue ;)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
  13. AIRniloc macrumors regular

    AIRniloc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    anozira
    #14

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #15
    thanks. looks good :D

    i thought i read in your thread you had to use an alu key for one of the F keys? but from the photos it looks completely all white keys
     
  15. AIRniloc macrumors regular

    AIRniloc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    anozira
    #16
    the f6 key is from the aluminum keyboard (that comes with iMacs, mac minis and towers)...it is a white key, like the rest.
     
  16. AirUser macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
  17. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #18

    can u post a pic to show.. thanks
     
  18. kinkster macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    #19
    I never mind the black keys/bezels until someone reminds me of them, and then they look pretty gross.
     
  19. Veinticinco thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Veinticinco

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Location:
    Europe
    #20
    Oh my, now that's what I was talking about....much MUCH better (esp. daylight) :cool:

    Care to supply a how-to-guide whenever you have some free time? Can't wait to see the blue light mod also.
     
  20. AIRniloc macrumors regular

    AIRniloc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    anozira
    #21
    the how to is quite simple:
    1) get a white macbook topcase (latest generation only, or your F-keys won't match their functions)
    2) pull all keys off of your MBAir (pull from the top left corner of each key EXCEPT for the f6 key, which you pull from the top right corner)
    3) replace black keys with nice white keys :D

    it will take a little bit of patience, but if you like the end result it is worth the 20-30 minutes :)
     
  21. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #22
    is this the correct top case ?

    http://www.ifixit.com/MacBook-Parts/MacBook-Santa-Rosa-Penryn-Upper-Case-with-Keyboard/IF186-044
     
  22. tom1971 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #24
  23. still in school macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    #25
    black is wayyyy better. the "glowing" keys would annoy me...
     

Share This Page