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RIP Apple Wireless Routers: We Hardly Knew Thee

Image: Composite/Apple
Image: Composite/Apple

According to a new Bloomberg report, Apple is exiting the router business. Bloomberg report that, over the last year, Apple has started to shutter the division, which made the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and Time Capsule products, instead opting to put engineers on other projects, including the Apple TV.

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In some ways, this shouldn’t be a surprise—Apple hasn’t updated the AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule since the summer of 2013. Still, its interesting that as companies such as Google and Eero get into the wireless mesh network business, Apple would abandon the ecosystem.

Moreover, this is sad news for anyone who ever had to buy a parent or less technical friend a wireless router. AirPort routers are expensive, and you can certainly find routers that perform better. But the routers are also known for being easy to use, especially if you have a lot of Apple products in your house.

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We may never know why Apple is abandoning the router game. Like first-party external monitors, it looks like this niche market just isn’t one Apple cares to be about any more. The good news is that there are tons of exciting alternatives, which is not something you could’ve said about routers two years ago.

[Bloomberg]

Christina is a senior writer at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

Moreover, this is sad news for anyone who ever had to buy a parent or less technical friend a wireless router. AirPort routers are expensive, and you can certainly find routers that perform better.

About that sentiment: I am no networking expert, but I have a strong background in CS, and I only buy Apple wireless gear. Sure, the AirPorts don’t have as many bells and whistles, but they are rock solid. I use an AirPort Extreme at home, and travel with an AirPort Express—the old, plug-in kind.

I’ve owned gear from Netgear, D-Link, Linksys, Cisco (not the Linksys rebranded crap, either, an actual enterprise WAP I bought from a surplus sale), and none have compared to the stability of an Apple AirPort Extreme. The only time I ever reset the Extreme is for firmware updates.

Don’t just take my word for it, though:

http://gear.lifehacker.com/these-are-your-favorite-wireless-routers-1788206682

While this is sad news, with 802.11ax still at least a couple of years out, these will remain be relevant for a few years.