Apple's redesigned AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models debut with 802.11ac support

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Apple on Monday announced immediate availability of its next-generation AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule models, each of which feature an all-new "mini tower" design and support for fast 802.11ac wireless.

AirPort


The base AirPort Extreme features a beamforming array antenna coupled to a fast 802.11ac radio tranceiver, which grants up to three times the speed of current Wi-Fi- protocols as well as stronger signals.

As with previous AirPort models, the newest design allows for dual-band support across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidths. Added to the latest iteration, however, holds a total of six antennas, three for 2.4GHz and three for 5GHz, which grant greater parity and thus a cleaner signal. In addition, the antenna array is located on the top of the unit, which Apple claims helps the AirPort users connect from farther distances.

Apple's Time Capsule models take an AirPort Extreme and add on either a 2TB or 3TB hard drive for easy wireless backups and remote storage. Working with OS X Time Machine, the units seamlessly interface and provide persistent backups behind the scenes without user interaction.

On the back of all three AirPorts are a number of connection options, including three Gigabit ethernet LAN ports, one USB port for connecting printers or external hard drives, one Gigabit ethernet WAN input, and a power socket.

AirPort Back


The three new routers will be able to connect with Apple's current Mac lineup, as well as the all new MacBook Air, which feature 802.11ac technology built in. So far, the computer is Apple's only machine that uses the protocol.

Apple's Online Store has the new AirPorts available for purchase, with the Extreme coming in at $199, while the 2TB and 3TB Time Capsules are priced at $299 and $399, respectively. Currently, ship times are showing 1 to 3 business days, with in-store pickup available from June 12.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Such a flipping weird shape. Styled, probably, after the new Mac Pro, but it doesn't fit in at all with, well, anything else.


     


    Does this mean the Haswell Mac Mini will also be vertical? Because the AirPort and Mac Mini designs have been tied for a while now…

  • Reply 2 of 54
    Kind of a funny lookin' design, but I guess it's the best way to get the antennae extension without ugly antennas, or without looking like a twig n berries.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    gijoeinlagijoeinla Posts: 213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PatchyThePirate View Post



    Kind of a funny lookin' design, but I guess it's the best way to get the antennae extension without ugly antennas, or without looking like a twig n berries.


     Um yea, it should stand up rather than lay flat, hello.


     


    Great move on their part, bet WiFi reception improves all around.


    ZoomInto: Pictures, Images and Photos



     

  • Reply 4 of 54
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,385member
    Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of this new design. It looks like they did this to improve the antenna design which is fine.

    I use the airport extreme as a wired main router, disable the wireless part, and use Airport Express to do the actual WiFi part. The original, compact design was nice so for stacking multiple units. I'm not the "normal" user for this, so I accept it and move on. I just like Apple's quality and using Aiport Utility makes administering the boxes so easy.

    It also looks like they removed the external AC adapter for the Extreme and integrated it into the unit.
  • Reply 5 of 54
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member
    Damn mother$%&43king sh#$#t!!

    Why can't these guys add one more flipping ethernet port?! Everywhere I use these things; I always have to buy a f&%king ethernet switch to add on. Just for one extra needed port.
    WHY?? WHY??!!! 4-ports is a no brainer. There is absolutely no excuse.
    Idiots.
  • Reply 6 of 54
    BuffyzDeadBuffyzDead Posts: 326member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by isaidso View Post



    Damn mother$%&43king sh#$#t!!



    Why can't these guys add one more flipping ethernet port?! Everywhere I use these things; I always have to buy a f&%king ethernet switch to add on. Just for one extra needed port.

    WHY?? WHY??!!! 4-ports is a no brainer. There is absolutely no excuse.

    Idiots.


     


    If THEY are Idiots, ....who is the Much BIGGER Idiot, for buying it?


     


    I'll give any idiot, three guesses.  image

  • Reply 7 of 54
    bluenixbluenix Posts: 40member


    That's probably a design you have to see in person at a store. The pics don't give you a good impression.


     


    One thing I am wondering - why not adding AirPlay to the Extreme or the TimeCapsule? I know it's wrong to consider your own needs and think everyone else needs it too, but it's a nice technology that they are pushing. So why leaving that neat thing to the Express? Am I the only one who streams his iTunes to a HiFi system in another room? Or just wants to continue listening to the album that you started on the iPhone but once you are home, change the output to the AirPort that is attached to the home HiFi system?

  • Reply 8 of 54
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by isaidso View Post



    Damn mother$%&43king sh#$#t!!



    Why can't these guys add one more flipping ethernet port?! Everywhere I use these things; I always have to buy a f&%king ethernet switch to add on. Just for one extra needed port.

    WHY?? WHY??!!! 4-ports is a no brainer. There is absolutely no excuse.

    Idiots.


     


    What do you do with the ones you already have?

  • Reply 9 of 54
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,385member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by isaidso View Post



    Damn mother$%&43king sh#$#t!!



    Why can't these guys add one more flipping ethernet port?! Everywhere I use these things; I always have to buy a f&%king ethernet switch to add on. Just for one extra needed port.

    WHY?? WHY??!!! 4-ports is a no brainer. There is absolutely no excuse.

    Idiots.




    I'm in the same boat as you.  However, I suppose there will always be one port less than what certain people need.  Since you brought up the subject, I wonder why Apple didn't add extra ethernet ports simply because there is so much room on the back of that unit?  That's unfortunate.

     

  • Reply 10 of 54


    It really is a weird design, hopefully it has a low center of gravity and strong range. But I've been waiting for 802.11ac to come to Airport for what seems like forever, so I'll take it!

  • Reply 11 of 54
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Al-Qaeda have already announced their intentions to try and take one of these down with an aeroplane.
  • Reply 12 of 54
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Can't wait to hear about the range on these. Have the previous model, but if range is substantially increased- I'm all over it! (I'd love to drop my Airport Extreme I'm using as an extender)
  • Reply 13 of 54
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    Hopefully I won't need a new one of these anytime soon. My current one is actually wall mounted.
  • Reply 14 of 54
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member


    I'm ok with the new form factor.   It now has 6 antenna (3 each for 2.4 and 5Ghz) so positioning them higher may really help.   


    Is the Time Capsule still using 3.5" drives.  I was figuring they may choose 2.5" drives for size reasons. 


     


    I'll upgrade my current TC when I get the next iPhone coming up.  I think 11AC is probably a bigger deal for mobile devices than it is for 


    desktop devices at this point considering mobile devices typically only have a single antenna

  • Reply 15 of 54
    mbmcavoymbmcavoy Posts: 157member
    I'm curious - it looks like the Airport Extreme and Time Capsules are basically the same except for the hard drive itself. Would it be possible to buy an AE and install your own HD?

    While the old Time Capsules weren't designed to be user-serviceable, it was possible to replace the drive.

  • Reply 16 of 54
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mbmcavoy View Post



    I'm curious - it looks like the Airport Extreme and Time Capsules are basically the same except for the hard drive itself. Would it be possible to buy an AE and install your own HD? While the old Time Capsules weren't designed to be user-serviceable, it was possible to replace the drive.


    Considering no one has torn into one- no idea.  But 99.9% chance you won't be able to.  And why would you?  Just add an external hard drive to the Extreme via USB 3.

  • Reply 17 of 54
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,076member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post



    Hopefully I won't need a new one of these anytime soon. My current one is actually wall mounted.


    I think for the vast majority, if you a recent AirportExtreme/TimeCapsule, most won't need to upgrade given the current functions of the box or of the other participants.


     


    My guess is that I'll upgrade next year (I just got a new TC last year... it fixed all my coverage problems in the house)... by that time, i'll probably have at least 3 AC devices in the house, and a 40Mbps link to the house.  if all 6 antenna are 'ac' in the new AE/TC, that's a 2-4Gbps of bandwidth.


     


    If/when Apple builds caching into their Airports (local app, rental, movies), for a local iCloud appliance, and/or density of wifi traffic (Airplay everywhere) becomes thick, that's when 'ac' speeds will be needed.   Your typical laptop, appleTV, iPad, iPhone, (with only 2 of the devices active at a time) printer house with 6-20mbps cable modem...  likely not so much of an need.

  • Reply 18 of 54
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,076member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I'm ok with the new form factor.   It now has 6 antenna (3 each for 2.4 and 5Ghz) so positioning them higher may really help.   


    Is the Time Capsule still using 3.5" drives.  I was figuring they may choose 2.5" drives for size reasons. 


     


    I'll upgrade my current TC when I get the next iPhone coming up.  I think 11AC is probably a bigger deal for mobile devices than it is for 


    desktop devices at this point considering mobile devices typically only have a single antenna



    my guess is will be the density of Video Airplay going on in your home, coupled with end device antennas.  If you got only one antenna, and you're blasting out 60fps of 1080p from a internet source, you're probably taxing an 'n' network.  Now add 2 more active devices, (like that new MBA Airplaying to an AppleTV connected monitor), Time Machine backups, etc., more antennas would be a very good thing, if for nothing else to split the bandwidth across multiple spectra.

  • Reply 19 of 54
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by isaidso View Post



    Damn mother$%&43king sh#$#t!!



    Why can't these guys add one more flipping ethernet port?! Everywhere I use these things; I always have to buy a f&%king ethernet switch to add on. Just for one extra needed port.

    WHY?? WHY??!!! 4-ports is a no brainer. There is absolutely no excuse.

    Idiots.




    I'm in the same boat as you.  However, I suppose there will always be one port less than what certain people need.  Since you brought up the subject, I wonder why Apple didn't add extra ethernet ports simply because there is so much room on the back of that unit?  That's unfortunate.

     



    Yes the new design made it easy for them to take the opportunity to add a port (or more). 4 ports is a very happy medium for a typical home router (hence, every other manufacturer's inclusion of 4 ports.)


    Don't know about the new unit, but the previous A.E. actually contained a 7-port switch inside, to which Apple simply attached only three RJ45 ports.

  • Reply 20 of 54
    isaidsoisaidso Posts: 750member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mbmcavoy View Post



    I'm curious - it looks like the Airport Extreme and Time Capsules are basically the same except for the hard drive itself. Would it be possible to buy an AE and install your own HD? While the old Time Capsules weren't designed to be user-serviceable, it was possible to replace the drive.


    Considering no one has torn into one- no idea.  But 99.9% chance you won't be able to.  And why would you?  Just add an external hard drive to the Extreme via USB 3.



    This has not been allowed (not worked) on the earlier units (maybe with some sort of hack?).  Haven't looked into whether they've changed that here or not.

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