iCloud Time Machine for Mac & new AirPort routers pop out of rumor mill - but hurdles abou...

Posted:
in iCloud
A questionable rumor appeared on Thursday morning, claiming that Apple is working on iCloud Time Machine and a new range of AirPort routers. Here are reasons why Apple may -- or may not -- be pursuing the idea.

Image of four Apple AirPort devices.
Apple AirPort devices


The rumor is explicit about how Apple is working on an iCloud-centric Time Machine for Macs and new AirPort hardware. While the leaker in question has a good track record for future iPhone cases and the like when presented a few days before release, they are less so when discussing hardware.

According to what is reported by my source l on macOS 13 there should be a version of Time Machine (Mac backup system) completely redone, integrated with iCloud Drive. In addition, Apple is expected to introduce new AirPorts in November #Apple #AppleRumor

-- Majin Bu (@MajinBuOfficial)
It's been four years since the AirPort was discontinued, and the product itself was originally released in 2013 in the vertical tower form. The rumor mills have been talking for some time about new AirPort hardware, well before that discontinuation, with it only stopping in the last 18 months or so.

But, FCC filings on May 23 has apparently revived some rumors. In that filing, Apple details a device by name of "A2657" and its purpose seems to be as a network adapter of some sort.

We don't think it's a new AirPort, because the Wi-Fi on it only supports up to 802.11n and it also includes NFC which would be unusual to see on router. And at 32GB of storage it's not going to be a new version of AirPort Time Capsule.

The other part of the rumor on Thursday mentions a redesigned version of Time Machine that integrates with iCloud Drive. It would have to be a radical redesign, because this is hugely different than how iCloud Drive or Time Machine currently function.

Files that you delete from one Apple device are also deleted from all of your other devices. An ideal backup solution should prevent such deletion from syncing. On your iPhone and iPad you can make use of iCloud Backup, but that's more of a middle-ground between syncing and backing up.

Apple breaks down the differences in this support article. For example, device backups don't include data already backed up to iCloud elsewhere, such as iCloud Photos, Notes, and Calendar.

Pro and cons of iCloud Time Machine

From Apple's perspective, a first-party backup solution that keeps customers in the ecosystem is positive, and also fits into the company's vision of wireless devices. An ecosystem offering could also be positive for customers, because iCloud Time Machine service would undoubtedly be included in the all-inclusive Apple One subscription.

Apple needs to increase the storage available to customers to make this a viable service. Unless you set up multiple Apple IDs, the most storage you can buy is 4TB. For Mac backup, a more reasonable number is 10TB, and it's not at all clear what Apple would charge for that much space given existing pricing.

Time Machine in macOS System Preferences
Time Machine in macOS System Preferences


Speed is another factor to consider. Local network speeds are somewhat less than a 125 megabytes per second in the real world. This is in contrast to a large percentage of the US userbase having upload speeds not even hitting 5 megabytes per second.

If Apple is bringing back AirPort, it will likely continue as the Mac's main backup solution apart from external drives. Transferring files inside a local network is far faster than uploading to iCloud. And, downloading an internet-based backup to restore a completely crashed drive would take a very, very long time.

In that light, maybe iCloud Time Machine would work alongside AirPort. A 32GB device suggests that it would contain only the most recent snapshots of your Mac system. Older snapshots could be stored in iCloud as a long-term archive.

WWDC is near

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference for 2022 is on June 6. If the rumor is true -- and we're not saying it is, because a lot would have to happen for it to be true -- it's possible we could see iCloud Time Machine announced at the keynote. Hardware wouldn't necessarily need to arrive at the same time.

Regardless if the iCloud Time Machine rumor is real or not, we're ready for new AirPort hardware.

Read on AppleInsider
cafarmer
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    lam92103lam92103 Posts: 74member
    Hope they manage to fix TimeMachine, coz it is unusable currently. The amount of backup corruption that occurs with it is insane. Even after following all the tweaks on the internet, messing with SMB settings, setting 1GB band size of sparse images & even after getting a Synology. Which is apparently the Apple recommended backup destination.

    QRecall is so much better & and has yet to corrupt any backups in over 2 years now.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 24
    seanjseanj Posts: 293member
    A device to perform Time Machine style backups, but off-site into iCloud?
    I’d buy one in an instant - though I’d need 16Tb capacity minimum.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,689member
    seanj said:
    A device to perform Time Machine style backups, but off-site into iCloud?
    I’d buy one in an instant - though I’d need 16Tb capacity minimum.
    Line forms behind me, pal. 

    It is plausible if for no other rason than Apple seems to want to grow its services line of business - something very common across all the the tech world. No money in selling hardware (or even software) unless it nets you a subscription of some sort.

    It would be realy nice if the iCloud backups were some sort of separate storage tier you pay separately for. I would guess it would become part of Apple One. 

    Man, would I like a new AirPort. Mine here aging, but stable and unsupported. This is dubious at best for the reason above: no money in that. Like a TV. Or a monitor for that matter...unless there is no meaningful competition. 
    cafarmerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 24
    danoxdanox Posts: 952member
    A Apple server should be a thing to with the M Series SOC……
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 24
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 994member
    Apple routers were the best on the market, for Apple devices at least. I hope Tim Cook comes to his senses and brings back an even better wi-fi router.
    digitoldanoxzeus423opinionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 24
    digitoldigitol Posts: 268member
    tyler82 said:
    Apple routers were the best on the market, for Apple devices at least. I hope Tim Cook comes to his senses and brings back an even better wi-fi router.
    A B S O L U T E L Y !! Not to mention still remains one of the few routers that was not susceptible to the CIA's factory firmware hack. 
    zeus423
  • Reply 7 of 24
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,373member
    I always thought Apple’s timing was strange when they discontinued the AirPort line, because they did it just as mesh networks were beginning to gain in popularity. For that reason, I always suspected that they would reenter the market with upgraded models eventually. Once fall upgrade season is over, I plan on upgrading my home to 6E, so I really hope these rumors are true. 

    With all these other rumors going around about AppleTV/HomePod and HomePod/iPad hybrid devices, I see no reason why any of them couldn’t also include AirPort to function as mesh satellites. 
    edited May 27 cafarmerzeus423opinionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 24
    oberpongooberpongo Posts: 169member
    It would be enough for me if this little 32GB device has a few USB ports to plug in some big external hard drives to support backups. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 24
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,378member
    Sign me up on day one. I was gutted that Apple left the market rather than bringing in a Mesh version.
    zeus423opinionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 24
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,217member
    Japhey said:
    I always thought Apple’s timing was strange when they discontinued the AirPort line, because they did it just as mesh networks were beginning to gain in popularity. For that reason, I always suspected that they would reenter the market with upgraded models eventually. Once fall upgrade season is over, I plan on upgrading my home to 6E, so I really hope these rumors are true. 

    With all these other rumors going around about AppleTV/HomePod and HomePod/iPad hybrid devices, I see no reason why any of them couldn’t also include AirPort to function as mesh satellites. 
    That is so true. It was a crazy move to exit the router/mesh market just when IoT was on the horizon and a lot of 'security' management could be offloaded to a smaller (cheaper) device that would be easier to update. 

    And on top of that was the rough diamond in the AirPort universe, AirPort Utility, which made complex setup processes a breeze for average users.

    I've not suffered any serious problems with Time Machine but know not to rely on it. I normally have multiple TM disks on rotation along with clones but TM is seriously broken for what is supposed to be a backup system. 

    All Huawei domestic routers have had NFC for years so it could easily be used by Apple too although this rumor is maybe too speculative to get hopes up. 


  • Reply 11 of 24
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,844member
    If they do this can they add wifi sharing to all Apple devices connected to the network via a cable. 

    So all devices bridge or mesh the core wifi connection or a guest network of our choosing with one setting.  Even sell a PoE to usbc to allow not traditionally wired but often fixed in place iPads, HomePod minis to be part of the mesh. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 24
    IIRC, Apple exited the router market because mesh devices were getting so popular.  Not to mention that many people didn't want to replace their isp provided all-in-one modem/router with another router just for wireless time machine backups. 

    A time machine backup device that integrates with an existing home network by simply plugging into a network port (and USB power) could be very useful.  Perhaps the specs of the mystery device suggest this could work. 32GB as a buffer, as it's likely network speed from mac to the device will be a lot faster than upload speed to cloud, and a battery backup in case of a power outage, so that it knows what's backed up from its buffer and what hasn't.

    Wireless 'n' is a peculiarity though.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 24
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 1,223member
    Airport routers are a given. 

    Apple got out of the business when the wireless industry was turning into a mess. Apple also had the mesh thing down before anyone else if you bought the smaller airports to repeat the signal. Pretty amazing back then. Kinda standard now. Airport security was also a major selling point. 

    Now the industry is standardizing again and paths are clearer. 

    Whether this year or next, it just makes sense. Apple had the best routers previously. They will hit that mark again. 

    I’d like to see what they do for mesh now, an updated admin section, and what innovations in security and speed they can deliver. 

    No real hurdle there. 

    iCloud backup is a simple matter for apple. They already do it for your iPhone. But more space is needed for Mac. No prob. Also a simple matter for apple. 

    The only real hurdle is getting people to use it now that it’s open knowledge apple combs through your files. 


    edited May 27 zeus423
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,456administrator
    IIRC, Apple exited the router market because mesh devices were getting so popular.  Not to mention that many people didn't want to replace their isp provided all-in-one modem/router with another router just for wireless time machine backups. 

    A time machine backup device that integrates with an existing home network by simply plugging into a network port (and USB power) could be very useful.  Perhaps the specs of the mystery device suggest this could work. 32GB as a buffer, as it's likely network speed from mac to the device will be a lot faster than upload speed to cloud, and a battery backup in case of a power outage, so that it knows what's backed up from its buffer and what hasn't.

    Wireless 'n' is a peculiarity though.
    We're pretty sure that as filed, this is an anti-theft device for retail stores.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 24
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 279member
    eightzero said:
    Man, would I like a new AirPort. Mine here aging, but stable and unsupported. This is dubious at best for the reason above: no money in that. Like a TV. Or a monitor for that matter...unless there is no meaningful competition. 
    Once upon a time this logic made sense, but no longer. Apple is now into peripherals with a lot of competition. On the hardware side, you've got Apple TV, HomePod, headphones and their recent re-entry into monitors. And then you've got items like Apple watch bands, cases for iPhones and iPads, etc., where there's a ton of quality competition at much lower prices. So what changed? I think the Apple user base is so huge at this point that there's money, especially in hardware peripherals, because Apple knows it can sell enough of them at higher prices when it integrates then tightly into the Apple ecosystem. I'd love to see a WiFi 6 Apple Time Machine router that simultaneously backs up to its internal drive while also backing up to iCloud. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 24
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 672member
    I would fill my pockets with resurrected Airport Express.  Can't recall the last time I had to so much as log into one of six of them - probably years - and they provide a bombproof network that's dead simple to set up and maintain.  No, they would not sell a ton of them, but I'm sure they paid the dev mortgage on the final version a long time ago.  This and eviscerating Server were two SOHO / small education puzzlers.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Am on my third drive inside the original (flat) Airport.   This time a 4 Tb.
    Works beautifully - fast and secure.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 24
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,181member
    IIRC, Apple exited the router market because mesh devices were getting so popular.  Not to mention that many people didn't want to replace their isp provided all-in-one modem/router with another router just for wireless time machine backups. 

    A time machine backup device that integrates with an existing home network by simply plugging into a network port (and USB power) could be very useful.  Perhaps the specs of the mystery device suggest this could work. 32GB as a buffer, as it's likely network speed from mac to the device will be a lot faster than upload speed to cloud, and a battery backup in case of a power outage, so that it knows what's backed up from its buffer and what hasn't.

    Wireless 'n' is a peculiarity though.
    We're pretty sure that as filed, this is an anti-theft device for retail stores.
    I doubt it. Retail stores have their own server that stores images for each type of device that uses an OS. Those images have built in anti-theft measures that render the device useless if it’s removed from the store.

    This could be a device used internally for Apple to test devices since it has a small storage space and NFC. Especially if they are testing devices without any ports. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 24
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,456administrator
    IIRC, Apple exited the router market because mesh devices were getting so popular.  Not to mention that many people didn't want to replace their isp provided all-in-one modem/router with another router just for wireless time machine backups. 

    A time machine backup device that integrates with an existing home network by simply plugging into a network port (and USB power) could be very useful.  Perhaps the specs of the mystery device suggest this could work. 32GB as a buffer, as it's likely network speed from mac to the device will be a lot faster than upload speed to cloud, and a battery backup in case of a power outage, so that it knows what's backed up from its buffer and what hasn't.

    Wireless 'n' is a peculiarity though.
    We're pretty sure that as filed, this is an anti-theft device for retail stores.
    I doubt it. Retail stores have their own server that stores images for each type of device that uses an OS. Those images have built in anti-theft measures that render the device useless if it’s removed from the store.

    This could be a device used internally for Apple to test devices since it has a small storage space and NFC. Especially if they are testing devices without any ports. 
    Makes sense too. All we have is unconfirmable sources talking to us about what it is.
    watto_cobramuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 24
    cafarmercafarmer Posts: 1member
    I would like to see them create an iCloud Home Server.  Something that would sync content you bought to the device... go all in on a walled garden that provided a "realm" for all of your devices.  Expand iCloud to not just provide storage, but to allow content creators to publish content that customers in the walled garden can consume and subscribe to - removing the ability for content providers to know who you are when you buy from them. I would also like to see this device work with the internet and without the internet. This could be a new internet... imagine the iPhone with the App Store, but no safari and the apps cannot reach outside the application's iCloud storage/datasets (no more data brokers... all exchanges would be anonymized with the vendors).  No more browsing; Facebook, Ebay, WSJ, Twitter, Instagram... all content providers publishing to iCloud (a little clarification on the social media part - I don't think those apps would even participate, I think Apple should integrate all features of Instagram, Facebook and TikTok into the platform - killing them off).  Part of that would include that content providers publish their content to a "shared catalog" or "shared content guide"... fix the whole streaming app garbage.  Magazines, forums, friends, live broadcast content, on-demand content, music... all available content from a single guide or experience.  (side note: apps are not the future of television no more than apps were the future for music.  Can you imagine going to 7 different record label apps when you got your first iPhone/iPod instead of one iTunes experience?)

    If you are reading this thinking; "What about banking!" "What about console gaming!"... well, that's the thing about disrupting something.  It would have to be addressed without breaking the tenets of the system.  Maybe the iCloud Home Server would be able to sandbox certain devices... (like your work computer and the xbox/playstation)... and maybe your bank would have to join some kind of iCloud banking transaction system.. or just use your Apple Card for everything.  Also, if you are thinking "no way would anyone cut themselves off from the open internet!"... well, you know there is a "dark web", right?  Do you yearn to go check it out?  Thought not.  FOMO?  Thought not.

    By the way, I had typed this up in more detail a couple years after Steve died and sent it to Tim Cook... not to my surprise, never received an answer back.  Then every time something horrible was revealed about the internet or some new rumor... I would send it again.. I probably did this for 6 years and then stopped.
    edited May 27 watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.