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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The death of the Airport is not big news to me. I’m actually surprised it lasted as long as it did. Apple introduced the first Airport in conjunction with the first iBooks an easy and convenient way to bring WiFi to the masses. WiFi is everywhere now. Routers are from multiple companies are prolific. Most businesses now have high end Cisco WiFi access points. There was a time where Apple needed the Airport to usher in the wireless revolution. That time has passed and I think this is one product line that doesn’t need Apple’s love anymore. I have always used directly connected hard drives for my Time Machine backups, even on my portables, so Time Capsule is no loss to me either. I have an Apple Airport Extreme 802.11ac access point in my home now. If Apple doesn’t make an Airport Extreme that supports 802.11ag, I’m okay with that. I do agree that having the Airport Express on sale with the 802.11n WiFi standard is embarrassing, and needs to come off the site.

  10. I’m going to stick with Apple as long as I can load my own RAM into iMacs and the OS isn’t too locked down. My latest model is less than a year old and I’ll replace it with the last one they come out with which I hope isn’t any time soon.

    However, increasingly I have less and less commitment to Apple’s current ecosystem. Now you might think that some of my approaches are “so last decade” but it just works (and where have heard that before).

    First I don’t stream music I transfer it onto a 80 gb iPod Classic which is connected to my ageing HIFI. There is a 120gb iPod Classic sitting in a drawer when it’s needed. The HiFI is getting replaced next year with one which has a 3.5mm socket for the “classics”. I don’t think I’ll have any problem purchasing 3.5mm cables any time soon.

    Why would you commit to Apple’s streaming software (and hardware) when it might be replaced. Likewise I don’t need to have my computer on to stream music it’s cabled.

    Second, I don’t use the cloud because I don’t want my data being stored on someone else’s computer and then getting milked for the privilege after I reach the free limit. I back up onto this old technology called “hard drives”.

    Third, I don’t own an appleTV I have a Western Digital TV media player with hard drives. My wife and I like to own our movies and TV shows. Our compromise is to pay our ISP $10 per month to watch TV shows and movies and then we buy the Blu-rays and re-encode onto the drives. Usually we wait for sales when we get the discs at a fraction of the original retail price. I swear my wife has seen Outlander at least five times and still counting!

    So now apparently Apple is getting out of the router business. You know the one thing going for Apple Extreme is that the installation is software based NOT browser based (which is invariably clunky to set up). Great, just great!

    Fourth, I’ve gotten so sick and tired of iOS updates being pushed by Apple for my iPad and iPod Touch that I found out a way to block the harassment from Apple to update, update an update etc.

    So there you have it, as time goes on I have less and less of a commitment to Apple, a company that once I had so much respect for. As far as I’m concerned we Apple users are just milk cows to suck money from, and then the commitment that we made to the company is shoved back in our faces by the next “big thing”.

    Frankly, I don’t care if people flame me but as a loyal Apple user since 1993 I’ve basically had it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been wowed by Apple and unless the company does a radical reset eventually the rot will be manifested in declining sales.

    Civilisations rise and then they fall and the same can be said about companies. This is the company that Steve Jobs handed over to Tim Cook. I bet the former is spinning in his grave over the outcome.

  11. My relationship with Apple started with an Apple ][+, back in ~1980-81 — shortly thereafter, started a new career at Apple. We parted company a couple of years after Steve was forced out. The mid-late 1980’s was a messy, dramatic time for Apple, and for Steve/NeXT. Those of us who were there know of what I type.

    Aspiring monocultures are never a good bet, in the long run. Previous commentors to this thread have said it better than I, so I will simply note that several folks spot the trending negatives correctly, and are not alone in these perspectives and observations.

    While Apple plays out the last of the now barely audible Jobs’ echos, there is little on their product horizon that makes sense — as in, Apple-Jobs sense.

    I don’t rent music or entertainment — I buy it, and own it — forever. I don’t use a cloud because I can do this myself, and retain nearly 100% access and availability, wherever I may be located, and my files are retained in my possession, 100% of the time. This does not mean that a retail cloud is not useful and/or necessary, from time to time — but, for the individual Pro tech user, not really part of the monthly budget.

    What is left?

    Hardware — computers, iPhones and iPads.

    OSX (cannot stand the new name, macOS — what is with the effeminate, lower-case spelling of “mac,” anyways? Be bold — Mac, or OSX — loud and proud, not trying to hide the name or slip it in under the door, hoping that it remains somehow unnoticed — enough already.)

    Fading pro-apps, like Final Cut, et al.

    We don’t want or need an Apple e-car — Tesla, and others, have got that groove well in hand. I have a hunch that the whole Apple car idea grew out of wanting to correct the fiasco that was progressing at the time (and later blew up in the consumer’s faces, taking Ford’s reputation down several notches) in the Ford car entertainment system side of things — with pending hints of threats of incompatabilities and other disasters trending with other car makers, as well.

    Clearly, Apple’s culture has been successfully captured and hijacked by Wall Street’s narrow imperatives and relentless bottom-line share-holder-driven demands. In my opinion, that’s a large part of the problem, in a nutshell. That, and Tim Cook incessent need to spend too much time preaching the goodness of the non-heterosexual perspective upon life. Nothing reproductively growing, future-proofing or sustaining about that line of thinking, per se — reflected in today’s Apple, writ large?

    Enough for this missive — I am not wishing ill on any group or individuals. In the end it is about the culture, the team, the ability to future-proof and delight, to “get it RIGHT.”

    And, BALANCE.


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