One of the features I’ve always admired in Apple’s Pro notebook line is the lighted keyboard. Actually, the 12″ model has never had this feature, but here’s how it looks and works.
There’s a fiber optic lighting system built-in to the keyboard and there’s an ambient light sensor hidden behind one of the speaker grills. When the light sensor detects that there’s not much light in the room it does two things automatically. It dims the display brightness to make it less overpowering and it ramps up the backlighting behind each key so you can see them even in a dark room. And it’s constantly monitored by the system as lighting conditions change. For example, as the room brightness increases the display brightness increases and the keys brightness decreases.
So if you wake up early in the morning and think of something you need to type on your computer, you just wake it up and begin working without having to turn on any lights in the room. Very handy if you’re inclined to not wake anyone else.
Here’s a tip I learned by accident. I keep my Mac OS X system secure by having it configured to require a password whenever it awakes from sleep. So for example, when I awoke this morning and wanted to use my Mac, it required me to enter in the correct password to access the system. Something I’ve been annoyed about is that when the password dialog window pops up on the display when you first awaken the computer, if the room is dark, the keyboard lighting system does not kick-in. So I usually tip the display inwards a bit so that I can see the keys until I get the password typed. Then the system properly activates the keyboard. Well what I learned is that if you wait and let the security password dialog time-out it closes and the screen goes dark. And if you then type any key it wakes back up. However this time it turns on the keyboard backlighting. Very cool.