Apple has introduced new function keys to its brand new MacBook Air, removing dedicated keys for Launchpad and Keyboard Brightness, replacing them with Spotlight, Do Not Disturb, and Dictation, which are arguably today more used than the aforementioned function keys.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman first spotted the change and confirmed that the new function keys are only applicable to the new MacBook Air with M1 chip. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1 chip features a Touch Bar, and so does not have physical function keys.
Removing the two Keyboard Brightness keys – one to increase the brightness and one to decrease – means that MacBook Air users must now head to the macOS Big Sur Control Center to change their backlighting on their keyboards. macOS users can still open Launchpad through the finger shortcut, or from the dedicated Launchpad icon on the toolbar.
It appears that Apple has added a new Spotlight key to make it easier to carry out searches on the MacBook Air, and a new Do Not Disturb option to improve digital health. Dictation is likely there to help boost productivity and accessibility on Apple’s entry-level notebook.
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