Apple’s big announcement on November 10 revealed a range of new Mac laptops with custom made processing chips. But this isn’t the only change coming to the beloved MacBook.
It appears that Apple’s new MacBook Air is updating its function keys. At first glance, the keyboard layout seems to be entirely the same on the new MacBook. It has the scissor-switch keyboard and the Touch ID pad instead of the power button, which Apple introduced in its most recent laptops. But the new Macbook Air has swapped out a number of its top row function keys.
The change was first noticed by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman on Twitter. But you can see it on Apple’s MacBook Air product page as well.
The new MacBook Air has updated keyboard function keys, adding Spotlight, Dictation, and Do Not Disturb – replaces Launchpad and Keyboard brightness. pic.twitter.com/1BM6wTWQZh
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) November 10, 2020
Which Function Keys Have Changed?
Leaving the top row are the Launchpad (F4) and the two keyboard brightness keys (F5, F6). Coming in are function keys for Spotlight (F4), Dictation (F5) and Do Not Disturb (F6).
Previously, these functions could only be accessed with keyboard commands or via the Notification Centre. Now users can enable dictation and the Ask Siri functions with one button, allowing voice commands to become much easier. In terms of accessibility, this is a plus.
The loss of the launchpad key might be the biggest change, but the new spotlight search function should streamline the entire process. I think I just tried out my launchpad function key for the first time, so I guess I won’t be missing it.
Losing the keyboard brightness keys also don’t seem like a huge loss. The keys are used far less in comparison to the screen brightness functions. Do Not Disturb may also be used more often now that it has a dedicated key.
This allows users to switch off their notifications for a while and avoid distractions, but previously you had to fix it in settings for a certain period of time. On the new MacBook Air you’ll easily be able to toggle alerts on and off at the press of a button.
If this keyboard function change is a deal breaker for you, maybe consider getting the MacBook Pro with the inbuilt touch bar. It allows you to customise your function key layout and can even switch them out entirely for most-used apps.
I know we’re all resistant to change, but we overcame the butterfly keyboard, we can do this too.