New MacBook Air keyboard features dedicated keys for Dictation, Spotlight, Do Not Disturb, and emoji

Apple has made a small but notable tweak to the MacBook Air keyboard alongside its transition to Apple Silicon processors. The function row on the MacBook Air keyboard now features dedicated keys for Do Not Disturb, Dictation, and Spotlight.

The three new keys replace Launchpad and keyboard brightness controls in the function row. Instead, you’ll now have to rely on the new Control Center in macOS Big Sur to adjust keyboard backlighting brightness. The removal of the Launchpad key is unlikely to affect many users, but the keyboard brightness change could take some getting used to.

Another change you’ll notice on the MacBook Air keyboard is that there is a dedicated emoji globe icon on the function key in the bottom left.

Of course, the new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro does not have these new function keys because it includes a Touch Bar instead of a function row. The new MacBook Pro does, however, add the emoji globe icon to the function key.

The new MacBook Air is powered by Apple’s M1 processor and features largely the same design as the previous Intel-powered machine. It starts at $999 and is available to order from Apple today, with the first orders arriving next week on November 17.

Are you planning to order the new Apple Silicon MacBook Air? What do you think of this small tweak to the keyboard design? Let us know down in the comments!

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