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What are the differences between the keyboards on MacBook Air models? Do they all have backlit capability?
All MacBook Air models have a black "chiclet" MacBook-style keyboard with square-ish keys and it "feels" essentially the same as the keyboard on MacBook and MacBook Pro models released around the same time.
11-Inch MacBook Air systems have smaller function keys with the power key integrated into the same row to save space, but otherwise are essentially the same as the larger 13-Inch systems.
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (11-Inch & 13-Inch MacBook Air)
Like the MacBook Pro models, the keyboard provided by almost all MacBook Air models includes backlighting and an ambient light sensor that automatically "measures ambient light and works with integrated software to adjust keyboard illumination and screen brightness based on user preferences."
However, the "Late 2010" MacBook Air models -- the MacBook Air "Core 2 Duo" 1.4 11-Inch, "Core 2 Duo" 1.6 11-Inch, and "Core 2 Duo" 1.86 13-Inch, and "Core 2 Duo" 2.13 13-Inch -- do not have backlighting capability.
If you are attempting to purchase a MacBook Air on the used market, the "Late 2010" MacBook Air models can be externally identified by the 2393 and 2392 EMC Numbers. These models also can be pinpointed by the MacBookAir3,1 and MacBookAir3,2 Model Identifiers in software.
EveryMac.com's Ultimate Mac Lookup feature also makes it easy to lookup each MacBook Air by a variety of identifiers to determine whether or not a model has a backlit keyboard even without hands-on inspection.
The trackpad on the original, "Late 2008" and "Mid-2009" MacBook Air models has "multi-touch gesture" support, which Apple more specifically notes includes "two-finger scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities."
Subsequent MacBook Air models -- the "Late 2010," "Mid-2011," "Mid-2012," and "Mid-2013" models -- are more advanced and support "inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities."
Essentially, "Late 2010" and later MacBook Air models have all of the capabilities of the earlier MacBook Air systems and add inertial scrolling, three-finger swipe, and four-finger swipe capabilities for additional usage options.