Time Capsule Postscript: Wow, Even iPhone Synchronization is Slow

Had our Dual-Band Time Capsule been faster at doing the two simple things we mentioned we were trying to accomplish—(1) transferring a large media library, then (2) merging it with a much smaller library—there probably would have only been one Backstage article on the topic, and it would have ended with great satisfaction. But it’s slow – so slow in fact that we’re now on our third consecutive day of trying to deal with its sluggishness, and have officially decided to give up on using it as any type of iTunes storage device.

Late yesterday, we succeeded in task (2), and had two hours to try and fill an iPhone 3GS with some of the library’s contents. By the end of that two-hour stretch, we’d gotten a grand total of two Gigabytes of content synchronized back from Time Capsule to the iPhone 3GS, and had to basically abandon plans to bring videos over to the device until today. We started that task this morning, watching as the progress meter moved at a snail’s pace to transfer a 1GB video file to the device, and then watched as telephone calls killed the video transfers part way through. Many hours later, we’re still not done. And there are too many other examples of Time Capsule’s slow performance to count.

Our conclusion: we’re officially forgetting all about using the Dual-Band Time Capsule for even the most meager of iTunes-related tasks, and sadly going back to using a wired hard drive. iLounge’s Charles Starrett opines than the device’s single biggest flaw is that it was built and marketed as both a router and a networked storage device, which compromises its performance for the thing people really want—networked storage—in the name of including functionality they don’t really care about, namely replacing their existing wireless routers. While Time Capsule’s appeal for both purposes really is an initial selling point, it’s obvious after using the original and new versions that both have missed the boat; Apple would have been much better off stripping the router features and multiple Ethernet ports, adding a FireWire 800 port, and enabling it to work either as a wired or wireless hard drive for $100 less.

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