How Moshi designed the first backlit keyboard for Mac

When Moshi‘s product designers were coming up with their next big idea, they discovered an opportunity at their fingertips – literally.

It was 2010, and Apple had just upgraded its MacBook Air lineup. A backlit keyboard, available in the first generation, was curiously missing — and people were up in arms. Beyond a touch of class and serious dose of cool, the backlight is a lifesaver for typing in the dark.

Realizing there were few decent alternatives to the standard iMac keyboard, and none with a backlight, the designers knew they were on to something.

The original Moshi keyboard, Celesta, was the first aluminum keyboard on the market. It developed a strong cult following, but its $200 price tag made it a niche item for design-centric customers willing to pay a premium. That put it out of reach for the mainstream consumer.

So the product development team took to creating a next-generation, one-of-a kind keyboard with a more accessible price point of $99. This meant opting for a polycarbonate construction over aluminum, but the result was something much more lightweight, durable and affordable.


“It took us two years to perfect it,” says Steven Huang, a product designer at Moshi, who played a focal role in the development. Most of his time was spent searching for just the right material for the transparent frame and tweaking the LED module to make sure the white backlight was uniform.

The initial design for Luna wasn’t up to snuff and didn’t capture the experience we were going for, Huang explained. “We asked ourselves: Would we use it? Does it appeal to us? If the answer is no, we start over. We’re customers as much as anyone else is.”

It was worth the wait. Luna went on to become one of our most sought after devices and even found it its way into Marvel’s Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier.

While Luna is no longer available, we packed our keyboard expertise into a portable package with VersaKeyboard.

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