It’s about time Apple killed the Airport hardware line

From Bloomberg: Apple Inc. has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers, another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Frankly, it’s about time,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville. “They’ve been limping along, unable to keep up with new technology.

“I used to really like Apple’s AirPort hardware, but somewhere in the past few years, it started to suck,” McElhearn writes. “They never updated the AirPort Express for 802.11ac, making their hardware useless in any but the smallest setups.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

Abandoned airport (via Jalopnik)
(via Jalopnik)

Apple abandons development of wireless routers – November 21, 2016


    1. > Don’t they have enough talent and money to find the resources to keep up?

      Yes, they of course do … they simply do not want to.

      It represents the end of Apple providing a holistic ‘Ecosystem’ to delight their customers.


    1. I dumped Apple routers years ago. Just pure garbage. I moved onto Buffalo routers with DD-WRT on it. Served me well for years, but not rock solid. I’m now on a Ubiquiti router and 2 access points. It’s rock solid, haven’t had any slow downs or restarts in the 6 months I’ve been up and running. The router does one thing, it’s a router. The access points do one thing, give wifi access. No more combo units for me that don’t do either one well.

  1. Airport routers are the best in the business, with 99% uptime. Windows routers have to be rebooted at least once per week.

    Cook wont be satisfied until he KILLS Apple dead!

    Somebody please fire this lazy, greedy, incompetent freak of nature.

    1. perhaps jony I’ve will find the requisite backbone and cite to mr. cook the words of oliver cromwell … and then maybe look in the mirror and repeat them to himself.

      “you have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately…. depart i say; and let us have done with you. in the name of god, go !”

      these two men were trusted with the keys to the kingdom and have simply squandered all the potential that lay before them.

  2. Wow, well this is a genuine shock to me. Didn’t see this one coming. How are we supposed to run a TimeCapsule, the best, easiest to set up, wireless back up on the market?

    We have entire homes and businesses set up with Apple wireless hardware and the main selling point was ease of use, a somewhat uncomplicated interface and being able to back up all Macs to one device.

    Is Apple dumping wireless TimeMachine backups?

    Even if they decided to dump TimeCapsules, they should at least leave a trail to backup wirelessly to an attached drive of some kind.


    1. It doesn’t mean they’re going to stop selling them anytime soon, and the AirPort Extreme has the fastest AC wireless available (1.3gbps). The airport express desperately needs updated however, and I agree with mdn’s assessment that the product line will be rolled into a new echo type product. The only other explanation for this move would be that they are going to either buy, or partner with, ubiquiti since they are ex apple engineers anyway. I love airport utility, it is the easiest management application around and hopefully it sticks around for a long time.

      1. The Express units are pretty lame. They’re just too weak for much. Other than making a printer wireless and the rare people who like to stream music with them (I know they’re not “rare,” but they were in our client base), we discouraged their use. We sold the regular Airport Extreme base stations for extenders instead. Never had weak signal issues with those like we did the Express units.

        1. That’s why Apple markets them as suitable for “apartments, dorm rooms and small spaces”.
          That being said. I used one in a 1300 square foot condo without issue. Even parked in the driveway, I still had a signal.

    2. I can’t wait for the new iMacs especially designed to fit in with the external but shite looking LG monitors. It seems its the way everything is going these days to save money at every turn rather than actually develop new and innovative revenue schemes. Goodbye Mac mini, after all we don’t want it to be cheap to buy into the apple eco system. A bit sad when the most impressive thing about the company is going to be the new Campus, which was supposed to reflect their rationale not defy it.

      1. Yes, and I am a bit concerned that Apple is building too many monuments unto itself. The AppleStores initially were kind of cool, but now we’re seeing 10 BILLION dollar Battersea monuments that are starting to resemble cathedrals. Every one keeps asking “What is Apple doing with its massive pile of cash?” I hope they’re not just letting hubris spend it….

    3. They want you to backup to iCloud.

      … and if you don’t want to, then they force you to by taking away the alternative.

      I guess no one at Apple has figured out that there are alternatives out there – including to their desktops.

      1. Exactly! This is what I have been saying for a few years now. Apple is fscking up all of their products to push all of their customers into their sucky iCloud.

        Fire Tim Cook!

        1. It’s not just Tim Cook.

          First of all, who would you replace him with?

          Furthermore, Jonny Ive is a much bigger impediment here. Then there’s Phil Schiller. All of which don’t live in the real world, or understand product, or their own customers.

          So, who’d you replace them all with?

        2. > So, who’d you replace them all with?

          Oh, we’re not going to replace them. We’re going to make them STAY … while their ISP connection bandwidth is constrained to that of a 56K modem.


    4. Typical apple. They too often set up technology, it becomes successful and then they abandon it and we all look like idiots spending money on it. I have a closet full of Apple routers that I’ll dump at auction.

    5. Services Services Services, you will have to use Apples on line servers at $600 per year to do remote Time Machine Backups.

      While I’m on the subject the reason Apple Services business has grown so much is QUALITY, people don’t trust Apples Quality anymore so Apple Care is a must.

  3. very ominous omen. cook, ive et al were given fortunes upon jobs early departure, they did not and have not yet proven nor earned as capable leaders, instead taking risk adverse decisions with little strategy nor customer empathy.

  4. Beginning with the passing of Steve Jobs, there has been a disconcerting trend with Apple. While they continued to innovate in a couple directions (iPad line and iPhones, mostly), they also began to disconnect from the users. This became most obvious with the release of the 2013 Mac Pro, and the end of the X-serve line, continued with the tendency toward planned obsolescence (soldered chips and drives in all-in-ones and laptops), and the neglect of product lines and software that were integral to the perceived Mac ecosystem and brought joy and satisfaction to the user experience (the experience that made so many of us become fans in the first place).

    Part of this may be due to the rapid pace of software development – to crank out a new version of OS X each year must be difficult. And unnecessary.

    With the loss of iPhoto, Aperture, X-Serve, iDVD (clunky at the end, but still a nice way to share with family), the corruption of iTunes, the focus on pay-for services and subscriptions, the stagnation of the iPod and desktop lines (which would be understandable if the prices came down accordingly), the whole non-mobile ecosystem is corroding. And now the display (no one makes any as nice as the Apple LED displays, specs aside), the Airport line, and perhaps next the desktops are going away – things that once made us care because they all worked together.

    I’d happily go a couple years between hardware and software releases if it meant a better and more consistent experience. We barely have time to learn how things work before we get a new upheaval (that usually comes out buggy, ill-conceived, late, and half-baked).

    Bring us back “It all fits together”, “It just works”, and “You can tell it’s an Apple product just by looking at it”. Bring us back the joy, because we’re mostly feeling frustration, neglect, and loss.

    And I’ll guarantee that new Apple users, if not hooked by passion for elegance, usability, stability, and consistency, will be much more likely to drift away to the competition.

    1. Preplexing..
      its not about dollers and cents on every little item..
      Its about a complete product line and synergic ecosys.
      Lose that and you lose the luxury of the premium you charge .

      INCLUDING NEGLECTING TRUE PROS… and kids in hardcore gaming. The extremes define your credibility and prowess Apple !
      Without it you are just another gadget maker.

    2. That’s the thing, when I was in high school I enjoyed putting together the fastest components, customizing them to my specific needs, and optimizing the settings. Now I’m an adult and I don’t have time for that. I was drawn to the Apple ECOSYSTEM of components, where I lost freedom, I gained time. They seem to be dropping all of the accessories that supported making that choice. The more components I have to go out and configure, the less time I save. If I’m not saving time, what’s the point of giving up the freedom? macOS and iOS are the main things they have going for them, but they’re not using that software integration with hardware to sell anything but handicapped macBook Pros and iPhones. They’re mantra has changed from Software sells Systems to Software sells Services and Hardware doesn’t matter.

  5. After a decade of being loyal to the Apple ecosystem and a shareholder, this alone may be enough for me to start selling shares. It’s like they’re intentionally damaging themselves this year, repeatedly.

  6. As for iCloud, not everyone in “merica has decent broadband or wireless service. In the past month our crappy Verizon DSL has been out for more than 10 days. My employment depends on Internet access. I have been drinking a lot of coffee at the local coffee emporium to use their wireless service. Now, after so much caffeine, my blood pressure is up.

  7. Funny how Apple, when it was smaller, could ship all kinds of stuff and keep it world class. Now, with more money and resources, they seem to be unable to walk and chew gum simultaneously. Apple was also more expensive , but had great value for the end user. Now they seem increasingly cheap and determined to mine customer’s wallets for every last nickel.

    I recently purchased an iPad Pro with LTE. For your thousand bucks plus you get the same charger that comes with smaller iPads (12 watts) and takes a verrrrry lonnnng timmme to charge. I have since found out that the 29 watt charger will allow for more reasonable charging times. This morning I ordered the 29 watt charger and the grossly overpriced USB C to Lightning cable – another $75 plus for something that should have been included. I read the new MacBook Pro comes with a gadget bar but no USB C cable to connect the charger to the computer. So your new laptop with a higher price has fewer ports, last year’s CPU, Intel Vampire Video, no swappable battery, no ability to upgrade or even add memory. Oh and not only do you now have to buy the USB C to USB C charging cable, the extension cord now costs an extra $19. Uncle Scrooge appears to be on Apple’s payroll and he is apparently making product decisions.

    Now we awake to find out Apple has abandoned wireless networking hardware and has reassigned staff to design watch bands, Coffee Table Books or some other waste of time. One can reasonably expect that means EOL is here or quickly coming for SW updates for our AirPort Extreme routers, anybody hear a word from the PR machine in Cupertino?

    Apparently Apple has grown too big to be bothered with the Mac and the HW and SW that make it useful, despite the fact as a stand alone it would be a sizeable company. The one thing Apple has consistently been a laggard in or outright sucked at is online services, yet that is exactly what Apple is pushing. Why sell someone the ability to backup locally when you can sell them an online service that costs just like rent? Why buy the music you love when you can rent it? Why buy an open Mac tower you can keep for years when you can have a throwaway model that you need to replace every two years?

    Apple used to be a company that put customers first, now it seems they are just prey and want whatever is in your wallet. As a shareholder and customer since before the Macintosh I am less than pleased and think this path is short sighted and not in the best interest of the company, shareholders or customers.

    1. With large companies, in order to manage the employees layers of management tend to increase. Perhaps this is the cause for Apple to become less ‘agile’ despite having all their monetary and tech resources.

      1. Maybe Tim Cook will read it. He should spin off the Mac Division into the Steve Jobs Truck Company and leave the trinkets to the new Spaceship HQ where they can rent music and write coffee table books.

    2. you are right

      many of us old time Apple fans (user 20 years plus, aapl investor) hate criticizing Apple but we can see from too many indications that it is going in the wrong direction.

      note when iPod was booming so many analysts and bean counters said Apple should cut down on stuff like Mac and concentrate on iPod , instead Jobs expanded the Mac business (many Mac models, PowerPC to intel, OS9 to OSX etc ) while NOT neglecting audio by starting iTunes etc . Where is the iPod now? Apple needs a healthy BROAD eco system.

      one Big reason stock is also down (if it had PE of Google it would 300) is that they say Apple is dangerous as it’s a ONE PRODUCT iPhone company.

  8. Another Apple product I depend on that is being dumped in the name of corporate profits. Steve Jobs would focus on making Airport the defacto standard for the world’s wireless, but Cook is all…meh. He’s got a board to answer to, not consumers.

  9. If this is the end for Airport, I sincerely hope Apple has aligned with a quality hardware partner to continue the supporting AirPlay through their routers… the 3.5mm optical/analog connector on the Airport Express is very flexible, and as far as I am aware, not supported on any other router.

    The entire Airport line have been very reliable for me, and creating extended networks is a breeze.

    I’ve been recommending these to all my clients, family and friends for years — who and what will replace them?

  10. From the FWIW dept.

    I used to spend the summer months in another part of the country. We had to use an Apple Airport Base Station (a prior-to-the-current-generation model) with the local ISP’s wireless router in order to get a reliable wireless signal. The ISP’s wireless routers would drop the signal every few hours. Until 2014. That summer their router never dropped the signal. Didn’t need the ABS any more.

    Early this year, back in our home town, we switched to another service plan (higher speed service requiring 2 sets of DSL wires and a particular kind of modem) with our ISP.

    Guess what? We no long need that ABS here, either. It’s now back in its box in a closet… along with some other old Apple stuff no longer used.

    From these experiences, I’d say it appears other manufactures’ equipment is working a lot better with Apple stuff than it used to… or vice-versa.

    Either way I win.

  11. Just the life cycle of every company that grows exponentially. Apple will eventually implode from its own size, shareholder expectation. Don’t be sad about it. Enjoy what you have experienced thus far. A new entrepreneur will eventually take the spotlight.

    No one misses Sony do they?

  12. It’s too bad – I have always found Apple Airport Extreme routers to work better than any brand I have tried (I have tried many, both at home and in small office wireless networks (less than 50). Until I switched to Apple’s routers many years ago, I would regularly have to reset the router (turn off for minute; turn back on) – when they would cease to give out dynamic IP addresses. I have never had to do this with Apple’s routers (I cannot recall a single time). All devices have connected seamlessly (accept a Sony portable gaming unit a neighbour brought by once – it was more finicky). I have tried the wireless combo modem/routers of two different hi-speed ISPs (cable and fiber optic). Even the AC unit did not perform as well as the Apple routers in our house. I ended up using both as modems only (turning off their wireless networking features). I hope that the rest of the market steps up to the plate. I truly hated having devices drop off the network until I reset the (non-Apple) modems.

    Having said that, I have missed configuration options that have been eliminated from Apple’s Airport software over the years. While more user-friendly for the novice, the software sometimes lacked some desirable features.

  13. One thing you can always count on here, no matter what move Apple makes, MDN will be there to back it up and second it. In MDN’s world, Apple can make no wrong move. It’s astonishingly, frankly.

  14. Preplexing..
    its not about dollers and cents on every little item..
    Its about a complete product line and synergic ecosys.
    Lose that and you lose the luxury of the premium you charge .

    INCLUDING NEGLECTING TRUE PROS… A kids in hardcore gaming. The extremes define your credibility and prowess Apple !
    Without it you are just another gadget maker.

  15. An analogy:
    We’ve all seen those movies where there’s this dude. He’s a geek, he has a small circle of friends but most of the population in his school doesn’t like him, picks on him, makes fun of him. Then he does something that allows him to be a part of the ‘it’ crowd – then what happens? Sure as shit, he embraces he newfound popularity while totally dissing his friends. There’s the inevitable confrontation where he accuses his old, LOYAL friends of just being jealous and storms off to be with his cool new friends. Finally something happens to screw it up for ol’ dipshit and he’s all alone, crawls back to his friends and, after a humble soliloquy they accept him back into their little circle.

    The geek in this story is Apple. Had a relatively small but fiercely loyal following – folks who continued to buy their products at every turn, because they were great products, worked and worked together in a killer ecosystem.

    Then came the iPhone, which most of us really love. But many other people do too and the product is a huge success. So what’s Uncle Timmy do? He embraces all the new Apple fans while flipping a big ol’ middle finger at what has long been Apple’s core user base. Want a new Mac Pro? Too bad loser, gotta devote more resources to researching that Apple car that’ll never happen. Want a new Mac Mini? Ahhh that’s cute but no. But here, check out our fashionable new watch bands, they’re stylish! Looking for an updated Airport Extreme? Silly dumbass we don’t have enough resources to keep working on that product line – now make sure to check out all the new & updated emoji in your iPhone’s Messages app – that’s the REAL important stuff. Gotta throw more engineers that way….

    Back around 2006 I had a hell of a time trying to find a router that worked dependably. Every one I tried f’ing sucked. I’d constantly have to stop what I was working on to go to the other room to unplug, replug and wait (and hope) for the router to reconnect. Over the course of a few months I tried 5 freaking routers, they all sucked badly. Then I got an Airport Extreme.

    Fast forward to late 2016 and it has NEVER dropped a connection. It has worked flawlessly, continuously for over ten years.

    When I bought this airport I was a (gulp) happy Windows user, built and maintained my own machines & really didn’t care about the Mac – the only other Apple product I had was a 3rd gen iPod.

    Since then I’ve purchased 1 Macbook, 2 iMacs, a Mac Mini Server, two Mac Minis for my Dad, several iPhones for both my Dad and myself, a couple iPads, another iPod, I write and record music using Logic Pro (have bought versions 8, 9 and X) and have been planning to move from iMovie to Final Cut Pro X for video editing.

    I did love my iPod but had I not experienced such great quality with that Airport Extreme I highly doubt the rest would have followed.

    The halo effect – remember that? Perhaps someone needs to remind Clueless Timmy about it while simultaneously booting his worthless ass from the building. Great numbers guy. Horrible Apple CEO.

    1. Ooooops, forgot the other most glaring omission from Apple’s product line:

      If I want a semi-matching large screen monitor to complement my new 27″ iMac Apple no longer offers it. Oh I know they’re working with LG on a new screen but, frankly, it’s ugly, looks like something my iMac pooped out…

      1. LG actually makes a screen that looks like perfect complement to your Mac, and as if the old Apple designed it.

        Oh yeah, it’s not the ones they offer on the Apple Store though – Probably to protect Jonny’s ego.

        It’s the 34-UM-95- P

        Thunderbolt. Silver back. UltraWide. They also just released a super 5K version of that form factor as well.

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