This is the most discombobulated, insane thing Apple has done in years

Apple’s AirPort line may be discontinued, but AirPort Express got one heck of an update today. Firmware update 7.8 for the latest AirPort Express hardware (2012 2nd-gen model, no longer sold) adds support for AirPlay 2 and Apple’s Home app. The teaser for support has been present since iOS 11.4 beta, but support hasn’t been live before today’s version 7.8 firmware update. —

“I tweeted that this is the most discombobulated thing Apple has done in years, I got a lot of flack, I reassessed, and I still think it’s insane. Apple released a major feature for a product they don’t sell anymore. It’s going to take me at least a week to get over this,” Benjamin Mayo blogs eponymously. “This is way more ridiculous to me than Apple charging $200 for a cruddy leather sleeve, or missing deadline for announced features.”

“The absurd part of this is that they rolled this out to a product that they discontinued months ago, the Express has been delisted from the Apple Store, and there isn’t a replacement product for people to buy that can achieve the same result,” Mayo writes. “What does Apple expect people to do? Scrounge on eBay for some second-hand AirPort Express units and hope they win the treasure hunt bidding war?”

“What I hope Apple introduces is a rebranded/redesigned AirPort Express for $49, that ditches all of the wireless networking stuff and just acts as an AirPlay 2 audio repeater,” Mayo writes. “Maybe it will be manufactured by Apple’s new best friend, Logitech. Perhaps Beats will make one. If such a product existed (and maybe it will in a couple weeks), I would be less riled up.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps there are more pieces to this puzzle yet to be revealed. Of course, if so, Apple could have easily held this firmware update until which time it made more sense.

Apple releases AirPort Express firmware update with AirPlay 2 and Home app support – August 28, 2018


      1. “Very good” very much depends on your point of view. Having a Mac Pro that is years out of date, and no firm ETA on a modern replacement. The Mac Mini on life support. Somehow claiming that removing the headphone jack is good on some devices, but bad on others in their ecosystem. Not having a way to connect a brand new iPhone to a brand new MacBook Pro to charge with a dongle. Hell, just “dongle hell” itself. The HomePod being years late and not up to snuff with it’s competition in anything other than audio quality. Killing off Apple-branded displays and pushing customers to other brands.
        None of these are remnants of a “very good” CEO.
        About the only way Mr. Cook can be rated “very good” is by Apple stock price and cash in the bank. And while I know Apple is in business to be profitable, there is a risk to losing customers when you offer obsolete products at a premium price and just plain fail when it comes to keeping a good product pipeline.
        Now if all you care about is the share price as a stockholder, and you’re not worried about the long term, then yes, Mr. Cook is a very good CEO.

  1. You will pardon me, Benjamin Mayo, if I consider your opinion to be worthless. Many people still own Airport hardware and will benefit from this firmware upgrade. What is so absurd about Apple taking a simple step to improve the experience of its customers? In fact, this might lead these people to embed themselves even further into the Apple ecosystem…win-win.

    Now, if you want to focus on Apple’s original decision to pull out of the networking product market without having a succession plan, such as preferred supplier arrangement with a third-party company, then I would be happy to join in with the criticism. But a goodwill gesture by Apple to update the capabilities of an existing product (even if it is no longer shipping)? What’s the big deal? Really?

    1. Agreed! Mayo is ignorantly looking at this in a vacuum.

      Apple had originally begun working on adding this feature last year and would have released it before the Airport Express was discontinued, but then there were delays in finishing Airplay 2. So, it took them awhile to get it finished. What should they done instead? “Oh well, let’s just delete this code that would make our existing customers happy.”

      THAT would have been insane, and not like Apple. They regularly provide updates to hardware they no longer sell. It’s only people who are used to being treated as disposable that are really shocked by this. Maybe they should become Apple customers and get used to better treatment.

    2. What is lame is, Apple never should have stop making router’s, server’s, Apple branded monitors, or even firewire. If Tim was in charge when Apple introduced the iPhone, Apple to this day would be trying to work with Adobe to get Flash to work on a phone.

    3. I have two airport expresses and their sole function now is to connect with stereo systems. I am pleased that Apple added this function.

      And though I disagree with Benjamin, I do like the idea of apple coming out with an $49 wireless bridge to audio equipment. I have a lot of vintage really high end stuff. In fact a few months ago I picked one up from Apple Refurbished for $49 specifically for that function. Now even more delighted that Airplay 2 will also work. 🙂

      1. I use 3 Expresses for my Roon system and I agree, this just seems typical of the service we used to expect from Apple.

        One reason might be because Apple promised AirPlay II before they stopped selling the Express.

        As far as the possibility of a new bridge, doesn’t really make sense to me Apple would support a legacy piece of equipment when they are about to launch a (sudo)replacement but it would tickle me for Apple to start expanding back into hi-fi with a higher sample/bit rate like many other audiophile system use.

  2. D-i-s-c-o-m-b-o-b-u-l-a-t-e-d. Wow! I think that’s the first time I’ve ever typed that word! I wonder if it’s in the dictionary. I’m going to go ask Siri

  3. I recall Apple doing similar things in the past. Discontinue something a few months before releasing something new but does the work of the previous product and more. Update the software on the old hardware so it can communicate with the new thing….hmmmmm.

    Me thinks Apple might just be up to something and all these babies who can’t handle change whine like little brats, should be called out and of course made to STFU!

    1. Babies who can’t handle change and whine like little brats.. why, whoever can you be thinking of? Surely not the brain trust contributing their two cents’ worth here in the MDN comments? Oh, OK, I’ve done it too. It’s so easy to splash one’s opinion on the internet for a momentary hit of approval, and conveniently refrain from retracting it later after being wrong.

  4. How is this any different from posting an update for an OS they no longer ship, or a fix for a computer they no longer sell? Sounds like doing something awesome for their customers, to me.

  5. Apple should never have discontinued its Airport line. There is nothing available that is as compact, well designed, offers better performance or is as easily integrated with the Apple ecosystem. The existing models could have been easily upgraded.

    1. I’ve been surprisingly shocked a month ago when My 2017 macbook pro took in charge my first gen Time capsule and set it up automatically with my new modem. 1 minute and I was online…

  6. I think this is fantastic. I’m pissed my Sonos Play1 isn’t in the list of upgradeable to it. Its hard for me to believe that the old airport express has more computing power than Sonos Play1.

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