Soon after the release of OS X Lion, Apple quietly introduced slightly modified versions of its Macintosh keyboards, changing some of the F keys to accommodate a number of Lion-specific features, including Launchpad and Mission Control.
Although not officially announced by Apple, the keyboards were spotted in Italy.
As Apple itself confirms in a Support document posted online this week, “Wired and wireless keyboards designed for use with OS X Lion feature Launchpad and Mission Control function keys.”
The Mac maker felt it was necessary to explain that “Although these keyboards are designed for and work best using OS X Lion, they also work with Mac OS X v10.6.8 Snow Leopard and iOS—such as with iPad and iPhone. When used with Snow Leopard, the Launchpad key functions as a Dashboard key instead.”
Customers may not want to rush their purchase of a brand new Apple keyboard just yet.
According to the people in Cupertino, California, “Using these keyboards with operating system software other than Snow Leopard, Lion, or iOS may result in some keys not working as expected; keyboard-based brightness controls, music and video navigation keys, and volume controls may not work as expected.”
Should customers run into these issues, there are workarounds.
For example, brightness and volume can be controlled from the System Preferences panes, according to Apple.
“Music and video navigation can be controlled from applications such as iTunes or QuickTime Player,” the company adds.
To make one thing clear (since Apple somehow fails to do so) OS X Lion does not require a new keyboard, provided that you have one of the relatively new aluminum keyboards that ship with iMacs since 2008.
Both the F3 and F4 keys will work as expected under Lion - as in F3 will allow you to access Mission Control, and F4 takes you to the Dashboard.
To access Launchpad, either click its icon in the Dock (provided that you haven’t poof’ed it out upon installing Lion) or, if you’re using a trackpad, swipe four fingers inwards to invoke it.
Apple Details OS X Lion Keyboards