MacBook Pro's crazy new LEDs

MacBook Pro's crazy new LEDs

Summary: An interesting little nugget I found out about the MacBook Pro when I turned out the lights: Apple seriously juiced up the new notebook's LEDs.

TOPICS: Hardware

The devil, as they say, is in the details. And the MacBook Pro is no exception.

When I turned out the lights to go to bed recently I discovered something new about the MacBook Pro that was quite surprising. Apple has cranked up the keyboard backlight on the new notebook to several times the brightness of the backlight on my PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz). Take a look at this picture:



That's the PowerBook G4 on the left and the MacBook Pro on the right. Both keyboard backlights are set at 8 out of 16 bars (50 percent) brightness. I'm hesitant to say that the MBP keyboard is ten times brighter, but it's darned close. It almost burned a hole in my retinas! In fact, the MBP's keyboard backlight set to one bar is brighter than the keyboard backlight on the PowerBook set at 16 bars (100 percent.)

Another interesting change in the MacBook Pro are the brighter caps lock and the num lock LEDs under the keyboard. Apple has chosen an entirely new color for the caps lock and num lock for the MBP (again on the right). You can tell by the picture below that the MBP uses a much brighter kelly green as opposed to the softer yellow/green LEDs in the PowerBook G4 on the left.


Both of these subtle LED changes contribute to the overall look of the new MacBook Pro quite nicely - even if they are just details. 

Topic: Hardware

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  • Tasteful touch

    PowerBooks have always been a pinnacle of 'understated elegance'
    and it is always nice when that is cranked up to include 'useful'.
    That is the ONLY thing missing from my 12" G4 PowerBook I wish I
    had. Oh, well.
  • Slick

    Slick. Very nice.
    I can't take it anymore. Stop!
    This coming from a 'Linux gearhead'!

    D T Schmitz
  • Powerbook G4

    I use the keyboard illumination on my Powerbook G4 quite a bit, particularly when working on it at night at home on the Sofa, or why not very occasionally on an airplane. I love it.

    As the keyboard illumination only (!) (a) uses up electricity and (b) burns holes in my retina due to the overall contrast, I prefer it to be subdued. And quite frankly, it never, ever, occured to me that the "maximum" setting on the keyboard illumination on the Powerbook G4 was "too low". When it is really dark, I would typically turn down the screen brightness, and put the keyboard illumination to something between minimal and 50%.

    There is no way that increased illumination has anything to do with "performance in the dark". When the most logical conclusion is wrong, logically, the illogical conclusion becomes more likely, and so we have to assume that indeed, the MacBookPro keyboard illumination would be so strong so you could use it during full daylight?
  • do some research

    It would be helpful if you did some research before you post an
    article. The improved backlight was a feature added on the
    PowerBook G4 between the 1.5 and 1.67 revisions. It was increased
    over 600% to add visibility to the keys in light conditions where it
    was deemed the previous backlight was insufficient or actually a
    hinderance at times. The MBP has the same backlight as the last
    revision PBG4.

    • Who cares? It's cool. That's all. Chill out.

    • Huh, wow.

      Thanks, you know so much!
    • So what?

      On the one hand the post was interesting and fun to see. On the
      other hand, yours is a complete waste of bandwidth. Go research a
      new personality.
  • Shoulda bought a PowerBook

    I knew there was a valid reason to spend the extra $800 on a PowerBook! If I'd only know about the keyboard backlighting before I bought my WinTel notebook, I woulda forked over the extra cash for the pretty lights.

    Give me a break! Even in pitch black, the light from the screen is more than ample to see the keyboard on my notebook.
  • Wow...I can't believe I read..

    .....the whole thing!
    Feldwebel Wolfenstool
  • oh the snides ; )

    Man you people are mean!
    You need to go get on WOW
    and do some grinding or
  • paydlpf 00 vhv

    ioytxj,soiauzkv76, rkenl.