The MacBook Air's biggest omission: keyboard backlight

Summary:The thing that bothers me most about the new MacBook Air is its lack of backlit keyboard. I knew that I'd become dependent on the keyboard backlight on my MBP, but I didn't realize exactly how dependent.

The thing that bothers me most these days about my MacBook Air is its lack of backlit keyboard. I knew that I'd become dependent on the keyboard backlight on my MacBook Pro -- but I didn't realize exactly how dependent. As it turns out, my typing speed drops substantially on the new MacBook Air In low light.

While checking out some of the various keyboard stickers around the intertubes -- my favorite is the Space Invaders theme (Etsy also has a bunch) -- I got an idea.

Someone should make white stickers with black letters on them specifically for the Mac Book Air. This higher contrast color combination would be easier to read in low light and I'm sure that they'd sell in droves. It would be even better if the decals were made from glow-in-the-dark vinyl. They'll charge by day and glow by night. Boom, killer business idea.

(And keyboard skinners: let's not for forget that the 2010 MacBook Air keyboard has compact F-key and space bar rows.)

The worst part about the backlight's omission is that the original MacBook Air (circa 2008) had a keyboard backlight. Obviously, there's no technical reason that it couldn't be done, so why did Apple drop it from the 2010 MBA?

It can't be a price issue. How much does a keyboard backlight LED cost in Apple quantities? A dollar? You can't make the case for battery life either, because it's easily turned off in System Preferences.

So why did Apple really drop the keyboard backlight in the new MBA? Planned obsolescence, my friend. How much do you want to bet that the 2011 model has a keyboard backlight?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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