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Apple's 2013 Macs rumored to include 802.11ac 'Gigabit Wi-Fi'

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
Apple has reportedly struck a deal with Broadcom that will place superfast 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips in its 2013 Mac lineup.

People familiar with the deal indicated to The Next Web that the forthcoming industry standard for Wi-Fi will appear in Apple's lineup this year. The so-called "5G Wi-Fi" offers up to 1.3Gbps data with a three-antenna design.

Apple has reportedly shown interest in the past of being an early adopter of 801.11ac technology, but the "Gigabit Wi-Fi" technology has yet to appear in any Macs. The new standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than 802.11n, which featured in current Macs, by using more frequency bandwidth, more efficient data transfers, and more antennas.

Time Capsule


Apple's current Macs use up to three antennas to achieve 802.11n speeds of up to 450Mbps. But the 802.11ac standard starts at 450Mbps with just one antenna, while a triple-antenna design boosts wireless speeds to 1.3Gbps.

While Apple has reportedly struck a deal with Broadcom, the chips the company will use are not yet available and remain in development.

"We have been told that if work goes according to schedule, they should be part of the new line of Mac computers," author Matt Brian wrote on Wednesday. "There is no word on whether Apple will introduce similar chipsets in the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Time Capsule or other products."

Presumably Apple's networking products would receive the necessary upgrade to provide 802.11ac connectivity to the rumored 2013 Macs. That would include the AirPort Extreme Base Station router and AirPort Express portable Wi-Fi base station and AirPlay streaming device.



Apple was among the first companies to bring Wi-Fi to the masses in 1999 when company co-founder Steve Jobs debuted a wireless iBook notebook onstage as his trademark "one more thing" at the July Macworld Expo.

The company also snuck in support for the 802.11n wireless standard in some of its devices in 2006. Support for the "draft n" specification was later added to devices through an available software update. The 802.11n standard was formally ratified in October of 2009 ??nearly three years after Apple began rolling it out.
post #2 of 57
What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.
post #3 of 57
LTE on the laptops would be great, too
post #4 of 57

I like this new standard.  Sounds good.  .ti ees to evila eb tnow I  But good things always come to those who wait right.  LOL.

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post #5 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifij775 View Post

LTE on the laptops would be great, too

Unlikely to happen until LTE gets down to only 1-2 flavors. Otherwise they would have to have multiple models of everything with limited travel support.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Unlikely to happen until LTE gets down to only 1-2 flavors. Otherwise they would have to have multiple models of everything with limited travel support.

I'm inclined to agree. Additionally, offering just LTE without fallback to all the other 3G/4G techs would be very limiting.
post #7 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by KootenayRedneck View Post

What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.

Especially with IPv6... I'd also like to see the base stations have the ability to take a settings change w/o requiring a reboot.
post #8 of 57
Loved the video especially the hoop. It's amazing to hear the crowd and think how we all take wifi for granted now.
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post #9 of 57
I expect early this year we'll see:
  • A new Mac Pro (or something new in its place)
  • A new Apple display that matches the new iMacs in the tapered edge, removal of FW and inclusion of USB 3.0,
  • New AirPort router(s) and Time Capsule that support 802.11ac.

It makes no sense to update the Macs or the routers to 802.11ac unless you have both ready to go at around the same time.

It doesn't look like any newer Mac has the 802.11ac chip installed just waiting for a driver update. At this point I wonder if I should hold off on buying a new iMac until they are refreshed to include it.

I'm hoping Apple really beefs up their routers. Even a small family can have dozen or more devices connected. The nature of WiFi is that only device can send or receive at at a time. It's much like Token Ring in that sense except in a star topology. These consumer routers are simply being bogged down with an increasing number of WiFi devices.

I think it would be great if they switch to a more modern ARM design, Perhaps their custom ARM chips and iOS would work. The current AirPort and Time Capsule devices are still using ARMv5 chips. Note Apple's iDevices use ARMv7 and the original iPhone started off with ARMv6. I'd think that performance to power consumption could be radically increased with a more modern chip but I'm sure there is a reason for using such old tech that I haven't considered. I'd also expect an upgrade to USB 3.0 and would hope that SATA III (TC only), and 10Gb Ethernet would finally show up but I doubt it.

I have lost all hope in a multi-drive home server with SW for centralized media support from Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KootenayRedneck View Post

What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.

What do you mean? A centralized way of blocking apps from making incoming and outgoing connections? Unless they make a business router I don't see why need something so robust. If you have a different take please describe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

LTE on the laptops would be nice, but I would hope if they do that they give you a choice to switch between carriers and not be locked into only ever using Verizon, At&T, Sprint or whatever. The LTE chipset would have to be larger but since it is a laptop and not a phone there should be enough room to carry more frequencies. Not to mention when you travel to other countries and would like to use LTE overseas as well.

It's certainly possible today. I would hope that if they do it they use a removal chip, like the original AirPort cards, but that would only work if the bottom plate of the Mac notebooks remain user accessible by a few screws unless they want this to be only something Apple or an authorized specialist can do.

If they go this route I think they'd have to include the antenna(s) and connector in all Mac notebooks just in case you want to add it, but as I write I realize they don't even include the mini-PCIe connector in 27" iMacs that don't have a Fusion Drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Unlikely to happen until LTE gets down to only 1-2 flavors. Otherwise they would have to have multiple models of everything with limited travel support.

Qualcomm's latest Gobi chips have put both flavours (TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE), along with 2G and 3G GSM and CDMA-based technologies, onto a single small chip. The only part that is lacking is number of operating bands that can be supported on a single chip, but that won't likely be an issue for long. Even now Apple has only 2 iPhones (save for NAND capacity differences) for all its carriers. For a Mac a slightly higher size, weight and power envelope won't be as critical as for an iPhone.

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post #10 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Loved the video especially the hoop. It's amazing to hear the crowd and think how we all take wifi for granted now.

I thought the hula hoop was a hokey back in the day but people seemed to like the visualization. The technology is called wireless and we've all been well aware of wireless data being sent since we were children. Well, except some of the very wise members whose childhoods didn't include the invention and adoption of the television.

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post #11 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I thought the hula hoop was a hokey back in the day but people seemed to like the visualization. The technology is called wireless and we've all been well aware of wireless data being sent since we were children. Well, except some of the very wise members whose childhoods didn't include the invention and adoption of the television.

Awe the hoop was supposed to be hokey! LOL
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #12 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Awe the hoop was supposed to be hokey! LOL

The crowd seems to like it but that might be a continuation of what I was thought was a brilliant presentation of picking it and moving it.

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post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I expect early this year we'll see:
  • A new Mac Pro (or something new in its place)
  • [...]

 

Yes, please. I'm too bored of iOS stuff. Please a new Mac Pro, or an alternative. An update to the Mac Mini with a discrete GPU would be helpful too, although I don't trust to see it soon.

post #14 of 57
I'm with the LTE crowd!

Unless you are at home, I'm finding LTE to be far more useful as I travel about town. Open and reliable WiFi connections don't exist any more. Yes it cost money and I do use WiFi when I can, but honestly WiFi has never lived up to the promise of on the go connectivity around here. The fact is I hardly use my laptop any more outside of the home or a couple of places with well known good WiFi connections.
post #15 of 57
WiGig is used mainly for short-range devices such as monitors, docking stations, and media-rich devices. Since Apple already uses Thunderbolt as a docking solutions, I assume Apple has other applications in mind.

Dell is one of the first manufactures to adopts WiGig on their Latitude 6430u Ultrabook...

http://www.businessinsider.com/wigig-faster-wireless-networking-2012-10
post #16 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by karmadave View Post

WiGig is used mainly for short-range devices such as monitors, docking stations, and media-rich devices. Since Apple already uses Thunderbolt as a docking solutions, I assume Apple has other applications in mind.
Dell is one of the first manufactures to adopts WiGig on their Latitude 6430u Ultrabook...
http://www.businessinsider.com/wigig-faster-wireless-networking-2012-10

This is about 802.11ac. WiGig is 802.11ad.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #17 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Loved the video especially the hoop. It's amazing to hear the crowd and think how we all take wifi for granted now.

Yeah! That was classic Steve Jobs at his best... Just nonchalantly pick up the running computer and walk away... The cameraman follows behind tethered to his cables!

This was one of the attributes that Scott Forstall exhibited -- humorous entrapment -- that I really enjoyed.

Sigh...
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post #18 of 57
IMO, the biggest benefactor of faster WiFi in the home or office will be iPads -- and to a lesser extent iPhones.
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post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It doesn't look like any newer Mac has the 802.11ac chip installed just waiting for a driver update. At this point I wonder if I should hold off on buying a new iMac until they are refreshed to include it.

 

If you need an iMac I'd buy one since they were just refreshed.  In a year you can get something like this if you really want it:

 

http://www.everythingusb.com/netgear-a6200-802.11ac-wifi-usb-adapter-21586.html

 

Honestly, it probably won't matter that much to you unless you regularly connect to a NAS via WiFi.

post #20 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

I'm with the LTE crowd!
Unless you are at home, I'm finding LTE to be far more useful as I travel about town. Open and reliable WiFi connections don't exist any more. Yes it cost money and I do use WiFi when I can, but honestly WiFi has never lived up to the promise of on the go connectivity around here. The fact is I hardly use my laptop any more outside of the home or a couple of places with well known good WiFi connections.

 

Ah...use your iPhone or iPad as a hotspot?  

post #21 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

If you need an iMac I'd buy one since they were just refreshed.  In a year you can get something like this if you really want it:

http://www.everythingusb.com/netgear-a6200-802.11ac-wifi-usb-adapter-21586.html

Honestly, it probably won't matter that much to you unless you regularly connect to a NAS via WiFi.

I could do that but I probably wouldn't buy an external card. 802.11n at 450Mbps will be plenty. My main reason for potentially waiting would be if there are rumours of an iMac refresh and I have to yet to purchase mine. I'm waiting until the ship times are under 10 days or the Apple Store has the one I want. I don't care about the CPU or GPU but I do want the 3TB Fusion drive and 8GB RAM (buying 32GB from Newegg for for 32GB). If I recall correctly Apple usually upgrades their iMac after a case redesign about 7 months later.

PS: I have been running my 2010 13" MBP at 100% about about 10 days now using iVI to convert videos and add them to iTunes. Last night I noticed my roommate watching an HD movie on the Apple TV via my iTunes library while I was watching a different HD movie. It never missed a beat.


edit: Time between iMac redesign and it's first update:
  • CRT iMacs — May 1998 to January 1999 — 8 months
  • Swivelhead iMacs — January 2002 to July 2002 — 6 months
  • White iMacs — August 2004 to May 2005 — 9 months
  • Aluminum iMacs — August 2007 to April 2009 — 8 months
  • Edge-to-Edge Glass iMacs — October 2009 to July 2010 — 8 months

Edited by SolipsismX - 1/2/13 at 4:27pm

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post #22 of 57

And as usual, the actual speeds will not even be in the same universe as the theoretical maximums. I have a 2012 MBA with USB 3.0 ports, just bought a USB 3.0 HDD, and although it's supposed to be multiple times faster, transfer speeds are pretty much identical to USB 2.0. I tried all 3 filesystems (OSX JOurnaled, NTFS, FAT32) and speeds were always dismal. What the hell is the point of this new tech if in practical use, even when everything is set up right, its barely better if it all? Same thing with my NAS. I have a pure N network, full wifi reception, yet wireless transfer speeds are shit, often less than my download speeds. 

post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by KootenayRedneck View Post

What would be nice to see if Apple incorporated a firewall into the router.

 

The Airport Extreme has a firewall.  Kinda basic but does what it's supposed to do.  You just can't tweak it.

post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

edit: Time between iMac redesign and it's first update:
  • CRT iMacs — May 1998 to January 1999 — 8 months
  • Swivelhead iMacs — January 2002 to July 2002 — 6 months
  • White iMacs — August 2004 to May 2005 — 9 months
  • Aluminum iMacs — August 2007 to April 2009 — 8 months
  • Edge-to-Edge Glass iMacs — October 2009 to July 2010 — 8 months

 

I would guess the Haswell iMacs would be around Q2 2013.  I think Haswell will be a far bigger bump for the Mini, MBA and 13" MBP than it will be for the iMac or 15" MBPs so really you're probably putting off a refresh for not that much gain.

 

But if you don't need a refresh then waiting is reasonable anyway.

post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by nht View Post

I would guess the Haswell iMacs would be around Q2 2013.  I think Haswell will be a far bigger bump for the Mini, MBA and 13" MBP than it will be for the iMac or 15" MBPs so really you're probably putting off a refresh for not that much gain.

But if you don't need a refresh then waiting is reasonable anyway.

I do need a new Mac I just hate buying and then waiting. I guess I really have to choice as the same situation will happen again with the next iMacs, I assume. Or maybe not as bad because they have the case design production worked out and it's less "new" looking. If I feel I get past that 50% mark I'll just wait. It's why I had the iPhone 4 for 2.25 years.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #26 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

And as usual, the actual speeds will not even be in the same universe as the theoretical maximums. I have a 2012 MBA with USB 3.0 ports, just bought a USB 3.0 HDD, and although it's supposed to be multiple times faster, transfer speeds are pretty much identical to USB 2.0. I tried all 3 filesystems (OSX JOurnaled, NTFS, FAT32) and speeds were always dismal. What the hell is the point of this new tech if in practical use, even when everything is set up right, its barely better if it all? Same thing with my NAS. I have a pure N network, full wifi reception, yet wireless transfer speeds are shit, often less than my download speeds. 

I don't have any USB 3.0 devices (or ports), so I can't comment on the speed of that interface... But, I do have a maxed out 2011 iMac 27 with Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt attaches to 2 12 TB Pegasus RAIDS and a 23" Cinema Display (thru an adapter).

Thunderbolt speed meets al my expectations -- and then some. File access/transfer is faster to the RAIDs than to the internal SSD on the iMac.
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post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

 

Quote:
I'm hoping Apple really beefs up their routers. Even a small family can have dozen or more devices connected. The nature of WiFi is that only device can send or receive at at a time. It's much like Token Ring in that sense except in a star topology. These consumer routers are simply being bogged down with an increasing number of WiFi devices.  I think it would be great if they switch to a more modern ARM design, Perhaps their custom ARM chips and iOS would work. The current AirPort and Time Capsule devices are still using ARMv5 chips. Note Apple's iDevices use ARMv7 and the original iPhone started off with ARMv6. I'd think that performance to power consumption could be radically increased with a more modern chip but I'm sure there is a reason for using such old tech that I haven't considered. I'd also expect an upgrade to USB 3.0 and would hope that SATA III (TC only), and 10Gb Ethernet would finally show up but I doubt it.

This tells me you know nothing about Token Ring or Ethernet.  Ethernet uses a Collision detection system, meaning it's a "party line" and any node can talk at the same time, hence the "collision".  There are methods in the standard to deal with multiple nodes trying to communicate all at once, but it is true that the more busy nodes on an Ethernet network brings down the throughput for everyone.  This problem was completely solved in the wired Ethernet world with the invention of the Ethernet switch 20 years ago.  Token Ring uses a collision avoidance system, in that their is only a single data token on any given local area network.  That token is always going around the ring of nodes delivering data and picking data up.  So their aren't any possible collisions...you just have to wait for the token to come your way, much like the mailman.  The problem is that this gets pretty inefficient as faster networks are needed.  In many ways, the Ethernet switch combines the best of both worlds...fast throughput and lack of collisions.  As far as whether it uses ARM v5 versus v7, does it really matter?  As long as the processor family handles the job being thrown at it, you don't always need the latest sexy chip in the embedded world.  Also, the OS for Airports and Time Capsules is not made by Apple (surprise surprise) and it may not even have binaries compiled to v7.  If you want another practical application of the OS in an Airport, talk to the Curiosity Rover on Mars.  USB 3.0 and SATA III are nice, I agree.  10g Ethernet is still not cheap/practical enough for home networks.

 

Quote:
I have lost all hope in a multi-drive home server with SW for centralized media support from Apple.

I wanted this too until I realized that Apple was really going for the cloud play instead of locally stored user data.  Anyone who wants a home server will have to "roll their own".

post #28 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

This tells me you know nothing about Token Ring or Ethernet. Ethernet uses a Collision detection system, meaning it's a "party line" and any node can talk at the same time, hence the "collision".

Did you read what I wrote?

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post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

This tells me you know nothing about Token Ring or Ethernet. Ethernet uses a Collision detection system, meaning it's a "party line" and any node can talk at the same time, hence the "collision".

Did you read what I wrote?

I haven't been in the bowels on LANS since the late 1980's... But at that time, if I recall correctly, Ethernet was beginning to us a CSMACDCA... The last 4 characters stand for Collision Detect Collision Avoidance.

Simply put a node wishing access, first listened for traffic (collision avoidance).

If no traffic, a transmission sequence was started.

If a collision occurred (collision detection) a signal was sent to tell everyone to back off.

Then each node would delay a different amount time (based on node address) before restarting its transmission sequence.

It resulted in pretty high thruput for small packets and large, active networks.


BTW, AppleTalk took CA to a ridiculous extreme... Where requests and packet headers far exceeded actual packet data.

I haven't looked at the innards of Airport Express... But I suspect it approximates a star technology with simple error detect and retransmission of rejected packets... Maybe just drop packets for streaming AV.
Edited by Dick Applebaum - 1/2/13 at 6:31pm
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post #30 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I haven't been in the bowels on LANS since the late 1980's... But at that time, if I recall correctly, Ethernet was beginning to us a CSMACDCA... The last 4 characters stand for Collision Detect Collision Avoidance.
Simply put a node wishing access, first listened for traffic (collision avoidance).
If no traffic, a transmission sequence was started.
If a collision occurred (collision detection) a signal was sent to tell everyone to back off.
Then each node would delay a different amount time (based on node address) before restarting its transmission sequence.
It resulted in pretty high thruput for small packets and large, active networks.

That's how it works. It's pretty simple in concept even though the specifics of the various protocols are quite complex. However, his comment is saying I know nothing of Token Ring or Ethernet. I only mentioned Ethernet at the end in regards to 10GigE with no mention of CD or CA.. My comparison to Token Ring was WiFi, not Ethernet. A Wifi antenna can only be sending or receiving (talking or listening) which means it's design is CA, not CD, hence my comparison in that regard to Token Ring and my utter confusion to his inclusion of Ethernet.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Did you read what I wrote?
Apparently he didn't!
post #32 of 57
Oh boy 802.11 a has entered IOS yet this year we expect 802.11 ac in macs and routers, try another way to surprise me.
post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

Oh boy 802.11 a has entered IOS yet this year we expect 802.11 ac in macs and routers, try another way to surprise me.

Huh? 1confused.gif

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post #34 of 57
More frequencies, more antennas.... the desire to irradiate each other and stress the cells in our bodies will never be satiated.
post #35 of 57
Wow, 11mbps was fast once?! 1tongue.gif
post #36 of 57

Great, so now all my 802.11n gear is useless... irked.gif1wink.gif1tongue.gif

post #37 of 57
Originally Posted by sweetseater View Post
More frequencies, more antennas.... the desire to irradiate each other and stress the cells in our bodies will never be satiated.

 

Good thing there's no proof of any of that.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Huh? 1confused.gif
It is as said
post #39 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

It is as said

I can't parse it. I have figured out that you mean 802.11a and 802.11ac despite your odd inclusion of an extra space but I can't figure out what you mean by "has entered iOS yet" and the other odd phrasings. So you're saying iOS doesn't have 802.11a? So you're saying that you can't have 802.11ac and have 802.11a at the same time? So you're thinking that 802.11ac is just 802.11a with a 'c' appended? It simply doesn't read like English is your first, second or third language.

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post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I can't parse it. I have figured out that you mean 802.11a and 802.11ac despite your odd inclusion of an extra space but I can't figure out what you mean by "has entered iOS yet" and the other odd phrasings. So you're saying iOS doesn't have 802.11a? So you're saying that you can't have 802.11ac and have 802.11a at the same time? So you're thinking that 802.11ac is just 802.11a with a 'c' appended? It simply doesn't read like English is your first, second or third language.
I said that 802.11 a is on IOS devices, it is not on Mac devices, it probably will be on Mac in 2013, but jumping to 802.11 ac would be hard for it, both types of devices(Mac and IOS) might not see it until 2014. But this ac could be seen in 2013.
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