Apple AirPort Extreme (Mid 2013) + AirPort Time Capsule
Apple’s AirPort wireless routers have changed form factors a handful of times over the past decade, shifting from classic iMac-matching pod-like shapes to rounded rectangles and squares. This week, Apple introduced two new AirPort routers: the 802.11ac AirPort Extreme ($199) and renamed AirPort Time Capsule ($299-$399). Both feature the same 3.85” square footprint and white plastic design of last year’s AirPort Express, but now stand 6.6” tall versus the 0.85” Express. Why do they look like fancy little milk cartons? Apple says that the new set of six antennas needed extra space to disperse their wireless signals. More details and hands-on photos are now included here.
While both of the new AirPort models are backwards-compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n devices, they were built specifically to offer serious performance improvements, particularly when used with new 802.11ac computers and devices. Within close distances of the base station, Wi-Fi speeds can reach up to 1.3Gbps—roughly three times 802.11n’s peak—with wider 80MHz channels to enable devices to take greater advantage of the bandwidth. A new beamforming feature enables each AirPort to target its signal to 802.11ac devices, locating them on the network and providing extra power to them. Dual-band support is retained to create 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, with three antennas dedicated to each band. In initial testing with 802.11n devices, including a 2011-vintage iMac that has long experienced major 802.11n wireless connectivity problems with prior Apple routers, the new AirPort appeared to be able to maintain a consistent connection without any issues.
One big change in this year’s models is Apple’s decision to unify the formerly different AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule designs within a single sized shell. Each has the same three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the back, plus one printer/hard drive-compatible USB 2 port, one incoming WAN port for connection to your cable modem, plus the same long gray power cord. The differences are solely in price and internal storage: the $199 AirPort Extreme has no hard drive—there’s a recess inside the same-sized enclosure—while the $299 AirPort Time Capsule has a 2TB drive built-in, and a $399 model has a 3TB drive. While Apple no longer makes “server-grade” claims about the drives, each can currently be used for automated Time Machine backups from OS X, with zero configuration work beyond the initial naming and passwording of the router, then selection of the drive within Time Machine settings. We’ll have to see how the new AirPorts perform with 802.11ac products, but we’re already very pleased with the performance we’re seeing from older devices.
- Happy Thanksgiving 2015 from iLounge!
- Apple reaches deal with UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China
- DisneyLife subscription-based app launches in the U.K.
- Apple buys motion capture company Faceshift
- Apple CarPlay included in 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage
- Apple aims to launch Apple Pay in China by February
- MasterCard giving Apple Pay users free trips on London’s public transit system
- Apple wins DRM patent case against ContentGuard
- Apple working on app to diagnose problems with iOS devices?
- Apple Music: Iovine apologizes for remarks about women; Adele won’t stream new album
- Parrot Hydrofoil Drone
- Apple Pencil for iPad Pro
- IK Multimedia iRig Pro DUO
- CableJive HeroDock
- Phiaton BT 330 NC Headphones
- Ecoxgear EcoPebble Powerbank + Speaker
- Lunatik Taktik 360 for iPhone 6/6s
- Belkin Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone
- SwitchEasy Aero, N+, Nude, Play for iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus
- Netatmo Welcome Smart Home Camera
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- Opinion: The ‘Grand Experiment’ of shifting to Google Photos
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?