Apple unveils AirPort Express for Mac & PC Users; World’s First 802.11g mobile base station features

Apple today unveiled AirPort Express, the world’s first 802.11g mobile base station that can be plugged directly into the wall for wireless Internet connections and USB printing, or thrown into a laptop bag to bring wireless freedom to hotel rooms with broadband connections. Airport Express also features analog and digital audio outputs that can be connected to a stereo and AirTunes music
networking software which works seamlessly with iTunes, giving users a simple and inexpensive way to wirelessly stream iTunes music on their Mac or PC to any room in the house. AirPort Express features a single piece ultra-compact design weighing just 6.7 ounces, and will be available to Mac and PC users starting in July for just $129.

“AirPort Express isn’t just the world’s first mobile 802.11g base station — with the addition of AirTunes users can now play their iTunes music on any stereo in their home — all without wires,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “This innovative Apple product will appeal to both notebook users who want wireless freedom in their hotel rooms and to music lovers who want to listen to their iTunes music library on a stereo located anywhere in their home.”

Apple was the first company to offer consumers easy, affordable wireless networking and is now the first to offer a truly portable wireless base station compatible with industry standard 802.11g and 802.11b wireless devices. AirPort Express features an incredibly compact design with no power brick required, providing maximum portability so it can easily be taken on the road for wireless broadband access in hotel rooms. The AirPort Express mobile base station also includes a built-in combination digital and analog audio connector allowing users to connect AirPort Express to a home stereo, powered analog speakers or the latest digital 5.1 surround sound systems.

AirTunes is Apple’s breakthrough music networking technology which works seamlessly with iTunes running on either Macs or PCs to let users easily create a wireless music network in their home. iTunes 4.6 automatically detects remote speakers and displays them in a simple pop-up list for the user to select. Once the remote speakers are selected, AirTunes wirelessly streams the iTunes music from the computer to the AirPort Express base station.

AirTunes music is encoded to protect it from theft while streaming across the wireless music network and uses Apple’s lossless compression technology to insure no loss of sound quality. AirPort Express provides a range of up to 150 feet, and multiple AirPort Express base stations can be bridged together to send music to extended areas.

AirPort Express offers both Mac and PC users the ability to share a single DSL or cable broadband account with up to 10 simultaneous users and a single USB printer with multiple users. With its advanced security features, AirPort Express safeguards data on networked computers with support for WiFi Protected Access (WPA), 128-bit encryption and a built-in firewall.

AirPort Express can be ordered immediately through the Apple Store and is expected to be available in July at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $129(US). AirTunes requires the next version of iTunes, iTunes 4.6, which is expected to be available later this week as a free download.

More information about Apple’s new Airport Express here.

More information about Apple’s new AirTunes here.

39 Comments

  1. Wow. Apple wows me again. No rumors of this coming out. Another 2 products that nobody knew they needed but will be unable to live without once they have it.

    What was Steve said in Paris? Innovate. Thats what we do.

    GO APPLE!

  2. I’m definately getting an airport card in my iBook so I can get this AP Express, I always hated the fact that I had to keep my labtop stationary just to play my music through my speakers and how not only can I play my music wirelessy, i can print and surf the web wirelessy also. Just when you think innovation will stop from apple, they go out and do it again. Men if great stuff like this comes out before WWDC, then we can only hope for the best then right!!!

  3. For those of us who already have base stations, it would be nice to have an AP Express that worked only as a WAP, or one that only streamed music. I don’t need another base station…

  4. Shame it doenst look as though it will work with Sounsticks….

    Now all we need is an iPod wireless desktop stand and better in car ipod integration (from Apple).

  5. Why release this today before the 28th?? Does this mean a wifi iPod? In Decembers issue of Macworld there is a picture of a wifi card about an inch square with a guy holding this between his fingers. Now that these hard drives are getting smaller in size, is there room in the iPod for a wifi card?? Imagine having a cookout in your backyard with a couple of nice powered speakers and sending your iTunes to them with your iPod on your belt while you burn the hamburgers. Pretty cool to me.

  6. NOW THIS IS INNOVATION!!

    All we need now is Apple announcing wirless built-in to the next generation of ipods!!

    The days of me using a stereo are numbered…

    A MESSAGE FOR MICROSOFT: “This is what people call INNOVATION! – NO FUCKOFF AND DIE BILL GATES!!”

    ROCK ON APPLE!

  7. You guys see what’s coming on the 4G iPod. Wi-Fi so that’s your remote control, and you don’t have to sit on your PowerPC anymore ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  8. I see over at AppleInsider that SJ talked about better iPod/Car integration later this year.

    “Jobs alluded to a new product when he was setting context prior to announcing the Airport Express. He said people also want the iPod to work better in their car, and to expect some announcements later in the year. He had an image on the screen of the inside of a BMW, with the BMW logo Photoshop’d out.”

  9. You can always use a PowerBook/iBook as a wireless remote control in the meantime. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

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