Thursday, January 11, 2018

Apple Comments on AirPort’s Future

Christian Zibreg (via Matt Birchler):

As Apple started selling the first third-party Wi-Fi router in the form of Linksys’ Velop, its spokesperson provided a comment regarding the future of its own AirPort line of appliances.

In a statement to 9to5Mac, which first spotted the presence of Velop devices on Apple’s online and retail stores, Apple acknowledged that it’s still selling AirPort Wi-Fi base stations: […] Unfortunately, the cryptic comment doesn’t say whether Apple plans on keeping AirPort alive.

Tim Cook in 2009:

We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

Previously: Apple Abandons Development of Wireless Routers.

Update (2018-01-12): Nick Heer:

A reader email reminded me that Apple took at least two months to patch their base station products to protect against a significant WiFi vulnerability. iOS and MacOS were updated within two weeks. I don’t know if the thirdhand information I have is right, of course, but the general thrust of the reports I’ve seen and moves Apple has made when it comes to their AirPort lineup strongly suggests that they’re not interested in the WiFi router market much longer.

Update (2018-01-14): David Sparks:

Remember when the Apple Airport was the best home WiFi solution? I sure do.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

André Medeiros Jansen Villar

I think wifi is fundamental and apple should be very involved on an "officially supported" product as in thoroughly tested with all Apple's products.

But it makes no sense for them to sell their own base station and AirPort was never great, at most very good.

Adrian Bengtson

> But it makes no sense for them to sell their own base station and AirPort was never great, at most very good.

I beg to differ. When wifi was new I spent ten years trying routers from almost every consumer brand (Netgear, D-link, Zyxel, 3com and others). Everyone of them had issues, had to be rebooted regularly etc. And even though it got a bit better over the years, everyone of them hade more or less awful UX when it came to web interface, installation and such.

Then one day I finally bit the bullet and paid for what I so far had avoided and consider overpriced; an Apple AirPort Extreme. This was the by far the best wifi router I've ever experienced. Totally worth the extra cost. I was blown away by the superior UX and the stability was better than anything I've tried before. The perfomance was also excellent.

I still to this day marvel over how easy AirPort routers are to set up. I recently added a third to expand my home network (it was given to my by a friend) and when AirPort utility automatically launches and suggests the correct setup and it's just one click or so, it couldn't be easier. It must be worlds apart for an ordinary user without technical knowledge and interest in this stuff (like, the average Apple customer).

That said, these days I probably would go for Ubiquiti if I were to buy new wifi equipment, but I still think it would make sense for Apple to develop and sell wifi routers.

I agree with Adrian. AirPort was great and hassle-free compared with other routers. But now they are really behind the times. Lately I’ve been using Google Wi-Fi, which provides a much better multi-base-station experience than AirPort ever did, though it’s missing printer sharing, AirPlay, a Mac app, etc.

I owned two Airport routers. They had their uses but for people who knew what they were doing, which seems to be everyone commenting on this site, they really weren't that much better. Unless you were all Apple, all the time. And I simply wasn't. Linux laptops, non Apple phones, game consoles, etc. I loved the fact that all the other devices could be configured by any device with a web browser. That's actually powerful in and of itself. And frankly, almost every consumer router in the last ten years has a walk through mode (quick setup) to get you up and running.

My favorite thing about Airport routers, which people seem to forget. iPhone OS and later iOS devices could not manage Airport routers....until October 12, 2011 or there about....four years of no access from iOS devices shows the weakness of this strategy.

Gargoyle Browser isn't that hard to configure. I actually walked through a pretty normal user setting up parental controls on a router running Gargoyle....over the phone even, not to mention I didn't have the interface in front of me. But yeah, ease of use is an Apple gospel.

I disagree with David Sparks, "Remember when the Apple Airport was the best home WiFi solution? I sure do.". In my admittedly not so important opinion, Apple is often ahead of the game on something, but then they simply don't keep up. Apple will release decent hardware/software/services, but then the stuff just languishes. Airport Express has received relatively few updates in the almost 14 years on the market....three total. Did the AC Airport models ever receive update?

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