Apple Wireless Keyboard LED - 40X

Ever wonder how the power LED shows through the aluminum of Apple's new wireless keyboard when it's on, but blends into the metal when it's off? Here's how.


This design feature caught my eye as soon as I powered the keyboard up, so I brought it into work the next day and took a picture at 40X magnification using the scope in our lab. A small pattern of what must be laser cut holes allows the light from the LED to shine through, but hides it from view when it's turned off.

  • Karl-Franz 8y

    Very cool. Apple does a similar effect on the new iPhone Bluetooth headset. The LED is normally invisible and disappears into the smooth black body until it is lit.
  • Brent Stephens 8y

    That is f'n awesome.
  • yinyang PRO 8y

    that is pretty damn impressive
  • aryayush 8y

    This is awesome. You can immediately see that this is something only Apple would obsess over. :D
  • Jeremy Baker 8y

    aryayush: You must be like me and have one of the older MacBook Pros. I believe it's the newer ones that have the microdot light. :)
  • aryayush 8y

    Yeah, I figured that out so I edited the comment. :)
  • gopiballava 8y

    aryayush: You've now embarrassed yourself in front of all of us. You don't have the newest MacBook Pro. You'd better go to the Apple Store and fix that before anybody else notices :)

    My ~1 year old MBP is the same as yours - asymmetric black dot to the right of the camera. The newer ones use technique shown in the photo to make the LED almost invisible when it's off. Very nice looking.
  • Jason Gerry 8y

    No other company except Apple would go to this much trouble for such a small feature. Yet another reason to love my MacBook Pro!
  • Graham Cox 8y

    Surely welding in a piece of transpanium then appkying the finish to both it and the surrounding bezel would be easier? Oh wait, you earthlings haven't discovered transpanium yet... never mind.
  • Jon Moss PRO 8y

    Very sweet! Thanks for this :-)
  • Devon 8y

    Nice work, thanks for sharing

    -- (?)
  • Sean McGee 8y

  • dankna 8y

    I know it's a microscope so this may not be possible, but could you take a photo at a shallow angle with side-lighting? Or, at least, a photo with side-lighting, if you can't do the angle. :) That will make the texture a lot more visible.

    That said, awesome! I wondered about that too... thanks for figuring it out!
  • swmooretiger 8y

    @dankna: that's definitely possible, but some of the image might be out of focus when I take the picture. I'll try that at work tomorrow. Thanks for the idea!
  • CM Harrington PRO 8y

  • Nirvanaman 8y

    Actually I think that must be how it is done on the newer Treo's as well. Their indicator light is completely hidden except when on.
  • Dash Fidel 7y

    apple is amazing......i would love to do a huge piece of art like this
  • flatterwhite 7y

    I noticed this immediately, when my wireless keyboard powered on. Also, these laser-etched micro-holes are used for the mic on the aluminium iMac, except the holes are slightly larger for the mic. Cool and very impressive, but as logical as anything Apple designs.
  • broadpath PRO 7y

    I had to operate on my wireless keyboard when it stopped working. Want to see its guts?

  • Another one2012 3y

    it's the same number of holes as on the above link of mbp isight led. considering the outer diameter of the led spot is 2mm, the diameter of the holes should be somewhat 100µm? does anyone know how to replicate the same pattern of the same size holes on a 1mm sheet aluminum at home? laser or microdrills? first holes, then anodizing, or vice versa?
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Taken on October 24, 2007

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