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AirPort Express stock-outs at Apple retail stores and Best Buy may hint at upcoming refresh

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, as well as some Best Buy outlets, are seeing stock-outs of Apple's AirPort Express, fueling speculation that the Cupertino company may be planning a refresh ahead of an anticipated next-gen iPhone release.

AirPort Express
Apple Store AirPort Express availability in San Francisco area.


AppleInsider has verified reports that multiple Apple Stores and Best Buy locations across the U.S. are out of the diminutive Wi-Fi router, with sales representatives not able to provide estimates of when new shipments are scheduled to arrive.

The Online Apple Store still has units in stock and ready to ship within 24 hours, as do certain Apple Stores, though other locations are showing "Ships to store" or "Unavailable for Pickup" status.

While not a clear indication that a new version is imminent, the stock-outs are notable as supply of the Express has been consistent since it was last refreshed over a year ago. The timing is also suspect given the first AirPort Express debuted in 2004, with Apple releasing two subsequent generations at four-year intervals. The last iteration featured a redesign and dual-band 802.11n compatibility.

With the launch of the latest MacBook Airs in June, however, Apple introduced support for 802.11ac standard, an upgrade to the long-standing 802.11n seen in all current Macs and Wi-Fi capable iOS devices. To go along with the laptops' new wireless capabilities, the company also introduced redesigned AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models with support for the speedy Wi-Fi protocol.

Industry watchers anticipate Apple will deliver 802.11ac support across its entire Mac lineup as new models roll out, including expected Haswell-based MacBook Pro models rumored to ship in September and a new Mac Pro slated for release by the end of 2013. Whether the specification will be included in next-generation iOS devices is unknown.

Apple's next big announcement is widely expected to be a Sept. 10 unveiling of the next-generation "iPhone 5S" and more affordable "iPhone 5C." There have been no rumors suggesting that a new AirPort Express will be part of the event.
post #2 of 30

802.11ac. Why Apple doesn't update all their products with new tech at once just boggles my mind. They do want us to adopt new tech, don't they? They seem to be on both extremes about that: They'll take something like Thunderbolt and use it thirty years before anyone else would… and then they go and wait months to actually get 802.11ac into any of their devices, much less all of them. 

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

802.11ac. Why Apple doesn't update all their products with new tech at once just boggles my mind. They do want us to adopt new tech, don't they? They seem to be on both extremes about that: They'll take something like Thunderbolt and use it thirty years before anyone else would… and then they go and wait months to actually get 802.11ac into any of their devices, much less all of them. 

I guess you never had to manage a product line. It takes time to get things updated - and they don't all require the same amount of work.

Would you prefer that Apple not put 802.11ac into ANY product until they're ready to update EVERYTHING? That would be truly ridiculous.
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post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I guess you never had to manage a product line. It takes time to get things updated - and they don't all require the same amount of work.

Would you prefer that Apple not put 802.11ac into ANY product until they're ready to update EVERYTHING? That would be truly ridiculous.

Well said

Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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post #5 of 30
Sept 10 can't come soon enough.
post #6 of 30
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
Would you prefer that Apple not put 802.11ac into ANY product until they're ready to update EVERYTHING?

 

I'd prefer the update process be expedited, as stated. It is, in this case, no more difficult than plopping a new board into the same case and running it through the gambit of EM tests. The product holding clamps don't even need to be rebuilt. Certainly that isn't true of their computers that use new chips.


Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post
Well said
 

Agreed, and from one who'd definitely know himself!

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #7 of 30
I literally just got one today. So if it comes out ill just exchange it. Everyone has some cool ways they've used airport expresses for AirPlay- quick little props to myself on my most recent endevour.

I recently acquired a very nice condition (exterior wise) 1964 Magnavox stereo console from our local habitat for humanity store for a whopping $10. Our decor at my house is very modern- but also very 60s type of furniture (although new)- very "Mad Men" like- so this peice was a find for us. It worked- barely- but once I cleaned all connections with air and a contact cleaner- it sounds like brand new- incredible sound- they don't make that quality anymore. I had to spring for a $9.50 new needle for the record player, and $5 for contact cleaner- so I was in it a solid $25. However- I wanted to give it a little modern flare- so I hooked the RCA out into a y to 3.5mm and put an airport express inside the cabinet out of view. Now I can play vinyl, AM/FM, And stream anything from my iDevices or Macs. Absolutely love this peice now. It just happens to also be a Wifi extender. 1biggrin.gif



#humblebrag 1wink.gif
Edited by Andysol - 9/2/13 at 8:45pm

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #8 of 30

I mainly use the Express when travelling (connect it to the hotel's ethernet plug, so I can use my MBP, iPad and iPhone) and at home to stream music to the bathroom and the terrace... For neither use 802.11ac makes any difference (bandwidth in hotels is far less than what even 802.11n does support and for music streaming even older standards work fine). I have never really seen the Express as a "one and only" hotspot for building a network - especially since it has always been one of the very few Apple devices that constantly fail (I think I am on my fifth now since 2005, but have never used the 2012 square model... maybe it is more reliable).

 

Now, if the new "Express" does have a HDMI port and allows AirPlay (with video)... then I would see a point. Otherwise, I do not need it.

 

(And yes, I do know that some people do use it to extend networks... just, I prefer some more reliable devices for my "infrastructure".)

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

I literally just got one today. So if it comes out ill just exchange it. Everyone has some cool ways they've used airport expresses for AirPlay- quick little props to myself on my most recent endevour.

I recently acquired a very nice condition (exterior wise) 1964 Magnavox stereo console from our local habitat for humanity store for a whopping $10. Our decor at my house is very modern- but also very 60s type of furniture (although new)- very "Mad Men" like- so this peice was a find for us. It worked- barely- but once I cleaned all connections with air and a contact cleaner- it sounds like brand new- incredible sound- they don't make that quality anymore. I had to spring for a $9.50 new needle for the record player, and $5 for contact cleaner- so I was in it a solid $25. However- I wanted to give it a little modern flare- so I hooked the RCA out into a y to 3.5mm and put an airport express inside the cabinet out of view. Now I can play vinyl, AM/FM, And stream anything from my iDevices or Macs. Absolutely love this peice now. It just happens to also be a Wifi extender. 1biggrin.gif



#humblebrag 1wink.gif

That is sweet!
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

Now, if the new "Express" does have a HDMI port and allows AirPlay (with video)... then I would see a point. Otherwise, I do not need it.
They have one of those already released. It's a black model under the name "Apple TV". 1wink.gif

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


They have one of those already released. It's a black model under the name "Apple TV". 1wink.gif

 

Yeah, I have 5 of those.

 

Still, a lot of people buy the Apple TV for Airplay only (we have 30 of them in the company, just for presentations and iOS training).

 

Now, if Apple wants to make the next Apple TV more expensive (better CPU/GPU for app support, more storage etc.), then making the Express "fill the gap" would be a clever move. (OK, just a theory...)

post #12 of 30

Makes sense. This portents well for a Macbook refresh next week, as well as 802.11AC compatibility for the 5S.

post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

802.11ac. Why Apple doesn't update all their products with new tech at once just boggles my mind. They do want us to adopt new tech, don't they? They seem to be on both extremes about that: They'll take something like Thunderbolt and use it thirty years before anyone else would… and then they go and wait months to actually get 802.11ac into any of their devices, much less all of them. 

Maybe they had to get UL approval and it didn't go through the process as fast, or maybe it's not a big enough seller to go to market with and it was just held off for a couple of months,  I'm sure there's a logical reason that we don't know about.  Maybe there's some chips they use in that model that they couldn't get enough in time for the product announcement.


Or maybe they were just waiting to clear inventory levels.  There's always a reason and they don't always tell us.

 

Try to run a company of that size, or any size for that matter and see what happens during the product development phase.  

 

Most companies don't refresh their entire product line at the same time. They get product out as quick as they can, while managing current inventory levels of aging products.  There's a art to managing that properly.    Some people don't need 802.11ac or really care, but some do.  It would be nice to get all of their desktops and laptops all refreshed the same day, but ALL mfg wait until the product is ready to ship so they announce products sporadically.

post #14 of 30
If the Apple TV extended wifi like the Airport Express, that'd be an awesome little product. I really like the AE, but I've had one die and one acts spotty, this is after 2 years, and they run hot. I hope the new one dissipates heat a little better so it doesn't cook. Some things could use a vent.
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

I literally just got one today. So if it comes out ill just exchange it. Everyone has some cool ways they've used airport expresses for AirPlay- quick little props to myself on my most recent endevour.

I recently acquired a very nice condition (exterior wise) 1964 Magnavox stereo console from our local habitat for humanity store for a whopping $10. Our decor at my house is very modern- but also very 60s type of furniture (although new)- very "Mad Men" like- so this peice was a find for us. It worked- barely- but once I cleaned all connections with air and a contact cleaner- it sounds like brand new- incredible sound- they don't make that quality anymore. I had to spring for a $9.50 new needle for the record player, and $5 for contact cleaner- so I was in it a solid $25. However- I wanted to give it a little modern flare- so I hooked the RCA out into a y to 3.5mm and put an airport express inside the cabinet out of view. Now I can play vinyl, AM/FM, And stream anything from my iDevices or Macs. Absolutely love this peice now. It just happens to also be a Wifi extender. 1biggrin.gif



#humblebrag 1wink.gif

 

 

Actually, there are companies that make product better and are better sounding, it's just going to cost a bloody fortune and you have to be a hardcore enthusiast to consider paying for it.    They just don't make these console units like that.   If you want that look for $10, go for it.  I don't like collecting that many antiques unless it's something that might increase in value over time.   I'm surprised they didn't GIVE you $10 to haul it away. You should have charged THEM instead. Obviously you didn't hold out long enough for a better deal...  /s

post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I guess you never had to manage a product line. It takes time to get things updated - and they don't all require the same amount of work.

Would you prefer that Apple not put 802.11ac into ANY product until they're ready to update EVERYTHING? That would be truly ridiculous.

Pwned
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post

 

Now, if Apple wants to make the next Apple TV more expensive (better CPU/GPU for app support, more storage etc.), then making the Express "fill the gap" would be a clever move. (OK, just a theory...)

 

I like that theory.

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post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'd prefer the update process be expedited, as stated. It is, in this case, no more difficult than plopping a new board into the same case and running it through the gambit of EM tests. The product holding clamps don't even need to be rebuilt. Certainly that isn't true of their computers that use new chips.
Agreed, and from one who'd definitely know himself!

OK, so you've proven that you HAVEN'T ever done product development or managed a product line.

Thanks for clearing that up.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by drblank View Post


Actually, there are companies that make product better and are better sounding, it's just going to cost a bloody fortune and you have to be a hardcore enthusiast to consider paying for it.    They just don't make these console units like that.   If you want that look for $10, go for it.  I don't like collecting that many antiques unless it's something that might increase in value over time.   I'm surprised they didn't GIVE you $10 to haul it away. You should have charged THEM instead. Obviously you didn't hold out long enough for a better deal...  /s

Hah- of course, they make much better quality sounding speakers, amps, etc. I have some mid-level stuff in my media room (not as nice as your components, but decent). What I meant is- I doubt ill be able to fire up my Onkyo 929, clean some connections, and expect it to work in 40 years. 1wink.gif.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by elliots11 View Post

If the Apple TV extended wifi like the Airport Express, that'd be an awesome little product. I really like the AE, but I've had one die and one acts spotty, this is after 2 years, and they run hot. I hope the new one dissipates heat a little better so it doesn't cook. Some things could use a vent.

I've always wondered this too. But I couldn't think of a device that USES wifi for content, and is also an extender. Otherwise, why wouldn't an iMac be an extender too (if away from the source).

The new Airport Express doesn't get nearly as hot. I had a couple old ones, they were definitely spotty to say the least.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

The new Airport Express doesn't get nearly as hot. I had a couple old ones, they were definitely spotty to say the least.

That's good to know. I have a couple Logitech audio streamers (utilizing their Logitech Media Server software running on my server as the source) and they discontinued the ones I'd been using. I've been contemplating switching over to Airport Expresses instead so I'll be keeping my eye on what they announce. The Logitech Receivers have been very reliable so I'd want the AEs to work as well as they do if I'm going to replace them.

post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I'd prefer the update process be expedited, as stated. It is, in this case, no more difficult than plopping a new board into the same case and running it through the gambit of EM tests. The product holding clamps don't even need to be rebuilt. Certainly that isn't true of their computers that use new chips.

 

Whats to say that some Apple products haven't already got ac built in, much like bluetooth that was activated in the iPhone with a software update.

post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

 

Whats to say that some Apple products haven't already got ac built in, much like bluetooth that was activated in the iPhone with a software update.

Because they would have activated them when they released the new Airport Extremes and Time Capsules.

And nothing has been released since then.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

Reply
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

802.11ac. Why Apple doesn't update all their products with new tech at once just boggles my mind. They do want us to adopt new tech, don't they? They seem to be on both extremes about that: They'll take something like Thunderbolt and use it thirty years before anyone else would… and then they go and wait months to actually get 802.11ac into any of their devices, much less all of them. 

Because 

1) the current AExpresses worked fine with the new Extremes and TCs, and with the MBAs released this midsummer.

 

2) critical mass is in iOS devices.  this timing makes sense. Putting out a new Extreme base station 4 months before allows those with MBAs (who are spending $1XXX) to have the ability to exploit over 300mbps... That is a select few [I would venture to guess most people [99%] who own apple endpoints and Apple Airports have a <100mbps Internet uplink, and no internal server that absolutely demands over 300mbps service.   Most would be quite happy with getting 50mpbs between their Air device and local Itunes library for syncing, and their 25mpbs downloads from the interwebs) who DEMAND 600mbps+ performance out their wireless network would be buying a full basestation anyway, and spending $299 for that after upgrading all their internal wiring to Cat6, spending $100+ a month just on 50mbps Intertubes, and having a PetaByte server of the entire PirateBay collection is a mere pittance.   It's a order of magnitude pairing.

 

 

Now... Once Apple 'sells' iPhones with 'ac' on them, that will shift to a feeding a buying spree... top of mind... "We announce today a new phone, and a new wireless standard... buy the phone for $299 at your local VeriSprint&T store, and buy one these little beauty's for $99 and get the FULL bandwidth, FARTHER than curretnly possible"

 

2) a 4 month lag is not like a 3 year product roll-out.

 

3) since it's a draft standard, getting a platform out there to verify it, and work out the bugs (ala MBA networking) is a big deal.   Best not to go to market to sell 100million iPhones and iPads, without some 'field' experience with the draft std.

 

As for the extremes,

 

While I agree (FireWire comes to mind for me), I think they are pretty good sizing a performance envelope and picking a technology to run with.  Moving to USB in 1998 was a serious move.  

 

And 'ac' is a sub standard under the 802.11 spec.  They are riding this horse a long time by your definition.  they've built in Wireless since the original iMac, even as a non portable.   This is like moving from USB 2 to USB 3, not like moving from SCSI to Thunderbolt.

 

Now Power Chips... they ran that horse to long... but that was because IBM/Moto couldn't innovate the heat/power consumption curve that a MBA really required.

post #25 of 30
Well an update is about time. However I'd like to see a slightly more involved update. In that regard I'd like to see at least 128GB of storage for iTunes music (preferably 256GB). In effect add a music server functionality to the unit and allow streaming to iOS devices.

This would require an update to iTunes allowing users to split their libraries into music and "other" media. This is needed anyways. Especially for those of us with lots of video ( developer and WWDC videos).

In any event if you travel with two or more Apple devices it actually makes a lot of sense to have your music in a common place. Some might argue that is the iPod/iPhone but then you are killing the battery every time you stream something. I need to think on this some, but a "serving" ability in the Airport Express would be nice. If not iTunes conventional file sharing would be nice.
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

Whats to say that some Apple products haven't already got ac built in, much like bluetooth that was activated in the iPhone with a software update.

Actually it is pretty easy to say that isn't the case. The development of the standards is a public endeavor. Further the chip vendors are fairly forward about when hardware is ready. In a nut shell there has to be hardware available for it to end up in Apple hardware. Since none of this stuff has been revved since the new hardware arrived there is no chance of it contains the latests standards support.
post #27 of 30
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
OK, so you've proven that you HAVEN'T ever done product development or managed a product line.

 

So instead of further snide comments, couldn't you say something as to the other idea put forth?


Originally Posted by Evilution View Post
Whats to say that some Apple products haven't already got ac built in, much like bluetooth that was activated in the iPhone with a software update.

 

We would have seen the chips in the teardowns, it would have been activated already, and you mean like 802.11n in the 2007 iMacs, not Bluetooth, and not the iPhone.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So instead of further snide comments, couldn't you say something as to the other idea put forth?

I already did - and you simply proved that you don't understand enough about manufacturing and product development to understand the most basic product management concepts. You also showed that, as usual for you, you weren't interested in learning anything. At that point, there's nothing left but snide comments.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
Reply
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #29 of 30
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post
I already did - and you simply proved that you don't understand enough about manufacturing and product development to understand the most basic product management concepts. You also showed that, as usual for you, you weren't interested in learning anything. At that point, there's nothing left but snide comments.


Spectacular. Except you provided no new information to learn, nor did you correct me at any point.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #30 of 30

Well, if you have new TC, you don't need extenders. I had an old one plus that little  box (2012 model) and, with the new TC, all devices seem to ignore it and just connect to TC. It mostly sits idle, playing music every now and then. 

New TC seems to have 3 times the range (100 ft to 2 bars on iphone5) in my unscientific experiments :)

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