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MacBook Air expected next week with backlit keyboards

The upcoming MacBook Air refresh may be bringing back a long lost feature missing in the 2010 models

The MacBook Air rumors continue to roll in more frequently and this time AppleInsider is claiming that the new thin-and-light models will revive the backlit keyboard option.

When the MBA was first available in 2008, the models included backlit keyboard options, but the 2010 models strangely omitted the attractive feature altogether. Why Apple decided to ditch the feature is still unclear, but it may have been a move to save battery life or production costs.

AppleInsider sources, however, see the backlit keyboard returning for at least some of the 2011 lineup of MacBook Airs. The 13.3-inch model is expected to support the backlit keyboard option, but it is not specified if the rumored 11.6-inch will carry the feature as well.

The new 2011 MacBook Air will be facing more competition in the ultraportable category when released, especially when the Intel Ultrabooks begin to take off. Still, the source is predicting the official debut of the refreshed Apple lineup as soon as this July 21st.

The 2011 MacBook Air has been rumored to already be in production and may include Intel’s latest ULV Sandy Bridge CPUs. A Thunderbolt port may be coming standard with all models as well.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-07-13 (Update: 2012-05-26)