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New MacBook Air to revive backlit keyboards, show next week

updated 07:35 am EDT, Tue July 12, 2011

MacBook Air should return backlit keyboard

The upcoming launch of new MacBook Airs should restore one of the more glaring omissions from the current generation, sources explained Tuesday. Backlit keyboards, which were present in the original versions of the Air but were pulled with the redesign, should make their return in the upcoming versions. Despite hopes for a launch this week, AppleInsider heard from its contacts that the release would be sometime next week.

That release may hinge on Mac OS X Lion itself. Apple could be ready to post Lion to the Mac App Store this Friday, but there may be security exploits Apple wants to patch relating to app resumes and restarts. The company also only just began taking Lion app submissions on the Mac App Store and may want an extra week to build up a catalog.

Apple is believed to be holding all new Macs for Lion and may consider the MacBook Air the most important of the group. The 11-inch and 13-inch systems should both make leaps to Intel's modern Core i5 and i7 family, including new 1.7GHz and 1.8GHz ULV chips on at least one model. Mini DisplayPort should give way to Thunderbolt, and the solid-state memory may upgrade to 400MB per second Toggle DDR 2 that performs well beyond even the mid-cycle upgrades seen with the current models.

Apple is rumored to have a high level of confidence in the new Air. The existing ultralights have managed to escape the niche of the first and move a few hundred thousand a quarter, but analysts at Deutsche Bank estimate Apple could ship 1.5 million a quarter and make it a backbone of its notebook sales. The lower pricing and improved expansion of today's systems have been given credit for the spike but have been held back by using older processors and concerns about a lack of RAM. [image via Ken Funakoshi]

by MacNN Staff



  1. yticolev

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The MacBook Air was NOT the first Apple laptop with a backlit keyboard. 2003 17" MacBook was the first, followed quickly by the 15" the same year (which I owned). The first MacBook Air came out in 2008.

  1. dshearin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Backlit Keyboard

    The backlit keyboard was not introduced with the Air but with the Aluminum Powerbook. Been around for a while.

  1. facebook_Hero

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jul 2011


    Pain in the butt!

    And with a 2008 MBP, running Lion, almost impossible to keep off...the backlight keeps coming back on after reboot, no matter what the pref setting!

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Up in the air?

    "Backlit keyboards, which first reached any Mac in the Air..." - huh? Mac in the Air? Is that code? :)

  1. AllanCook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    used it on my MacBook Pro; don't miss it on my MacBook Air. If you can touch-type it's unnecessary.

  1. ferdchet

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uh, nooooope

    This is a Mac site? I'm pretty sure I have a Powerbook G4 (Aluminum) that has a backlit keyboard. Oh yeah, I see it. Yeah, I do have one. This is the Pbook that looks like the 1st Gen MBP.

  1. ASIMO

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The rumors sound reasonably feasible. It's been a long while since I've been excited by upgrading to a new Mac, and this Air refresh is the ticket. I will happily yield 2 to 4 inches in screen real estate to my 2008 MBP to save my back some notable weight.

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