Is an Apple Backlit External Keyboard Coming Soon?

May 4, 2011 - 7 Comments

Apple Backlit Keyboard Setting from 2011 iMac

The brand new updated iMacs for 2011 include a seemingly out of place setting in the Keyboard System Preferences: Keyboard Illumination. That’s right, despite being a desktop machine that ships with the same familiar keyboards we all currently know, the new iMac includes the same keyboard illumination option that MacBook Pro’s do. Does this suggest Apple is working on an external backlit keyboard, and if so, was it originally intended to ship with the new iMacs?

The keyboard setting was found by 9to5Mac, and they also cite MacGeneration who noticed there is an ambient light sensor included in the new iMacs, the sensor sits right alongside the FaceTime HD camera just like in a MacBook Pro:

iMac 2011 light sensor

Ambient light sensors automatically adjust both the display brightness and keyboard backlight brightness on the MacBook Pro’s.

Put these pieces together and it suggests Apple just might be working on an external backlit keyboard. It’s also entirely possible that Apple just borrowed some kernel extensions from the new MacBook Pro’s and the ‘illuminate keyboard’ option is sitting in the System Preferences erroneously, but I’m crossing my fingers for a backlit Apple Wireless Keyboard.

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Posted by: Matt Chan in Mac, Rumor

7 Comments

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  1. Ian says:

    I’d buy one

  2. AnonMac says:

    iMacs had ambient light sensors for ages. The iMacs since May 2005 had them.

  3. r23w says:

    That would push me over the fence to buy one of those big daddys

  4. Javbw says:

    As AnnonMac stated, There has been an ambient light sensor ever since the iMac G5 (ALS) “Ambient Light Sensor”. It auto adjusts the sleep light brightness, and later the screen brightness of the screen automatically as the lighting conditions change.

    The original iMac G5′s sleep light was so bringht it was lighting up people’s rooms when they were sleeping, and causing a distraction, so they added the ALS to adjust it to acceptable levels.

  5. [...] have been digging in the settings for the iMacs and OS X Daily among others have found a new reference to an illuminated keyboard, so are Apple preparing one of [...]

  6. [...] Other interesting aspects of the patent indicate that the tiny perforations could also be used to illuminate the keyboard with LED backlighting, and that the entire system could also apply to deformable, flexible [...]

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