Bloomberg: Apple disbands its router unit, stops developing AirPort wireless appliances

By , Nov 21, 2016

AirPort Time Capsule mid-2013 (image 004)

Apple has quietly “disbanded” its router hardware division and reassigned employees to work on more lucrative products that account for the vast majority of the company’s revenue, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Monday citing people familiar with the matter. The company last updated the AirPort-branded Wi-Fi accessories back in 2013 with support for the speedy 802.11ac wireless standard.

“Apple began shutting down the wireless router team over the past year, dispersing engineers to other product development groups, including the one handling the Apple TV,” reads the report. The decision to disband the team indicates Apple won’t be updating AirPort products any longer.

An Apple spokeswoman declined comment.

Revenue from sales of AirPort products is lumped in with revenue from “Other” products like the Apple Watch, Apple TV, Apple Music and more. The “Other” category generated $11.1 billion in fiscal 2016, or about five percent of Apple’s total sales.

Apple used to produce three Wi-Fi gadgets: the $99 AirPort Express and $199 AirPort Extreme routers and the $299/$399 AirPort Time Capsule which combines router functionality with a server-grade 2TB/3TB hard drive with support for Time Machine.

Apple also recently exited the external computer monitor business and now sells LG’s new high-resolution 4K and 5K screens. If I were a betting man, I’d say that Apple might actually add AirPort functionality to a next-generation Apple TV considering some of the employees who worked on AirPort hardware are now on the Apple TV team.

Source: Bloomberg

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  • Casey H.

    I have been patiently waiting for them to update the airport express particularly. Guess I’ll have to move on to something else.

    • Do you have particular brands in mind which are comparable? I’m looking for routers too

      • Comparable? It wasn’t even that good. Get a netgear.

      • Casey H.

        I’ve been using a couple ASUS routers for the last couple years and they are ok. The problem I have is that devices don’t hand off from one ap to another in my house.

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    So, no more Apple Cinema Displays (monitors), no more AirPort routers, no more pro machines…Apple has dumbed itself down to just iPhones, iPads and accessories (i.e. Dongles). When Steve Jobs said that Apple risked “holding on to old paradigms,” axing everything that wasn’t an iDevice or a super-light and thin and dumbed down version of what a great machine should be was NOT what he had in mind. What a damn shame.

    • Alex Wilson

      Apple. Think different, think dongles!

  • The AirPort Extreme was arguably my least favorite Apple product. It was noisy and performances were very subpar. It also plagued me with random wifi loss for months.

    Everything went fine again when I put money into a Netgear router, a company that actually makes routers for a living.

    Discontinuing this line of product makes sense, just like it made sense when Apple casually mentioned they wouldn’t make external displays anymore. Focus!

    • Alex Wilson

      Yes must focus on watch bands. Surely a company of Apple’s size can handle multiple product developments at once, well they used to be able to do that but alas the proof that Steve Jobs is really gone is at our door step. But hey at least we got a really expensive table top book! 🙁

    • TechnoBuff

      I second that view.

      Personally i think this is one of their least profiit generating lines.. There are better routers out there. This is a wise move on apple’s part
      Because Apple is a big company does not mean they have to waste money on a product line that isnt generating enough profit.

    • Icisz

      Excellent point. I would love to hear which model you recommend Sebastian (for wifi and say, time machine backups) etc. I always had excellent performance from my most recent AirPort Extreme, something I’m not thrilled about moving away from, but clearly if it makes sense for them to focus on other things, so be it. Having never had any major issues with my Apple routers for well over a decade (a couple different models over that time) it makes me a little nervous wondering what I will do when it’s time to upgrade the iMac next year.
      As far as the cinema displays go: no brainer. Lg has had a long relationship with Apple and it’s displays- Lg’s offerings are just as relevant as what Apple did with them in the past. Sans the logo: we have amazing offerings in the independent display marketplace, all at pretty affordable prices.

  • Was to be expected. Obviously they are working on the Google Home competitor, which will include all of the AirPort features. No need to panic.

    • Alex Wilson

      Maybe. They are playing catch up once again if they are even trying. How long ago did a freaking online Department store out innovate them with Alexa? Getting beat by Amazon, what an embarrassment.

  • Alex Wilson

    One would think with a company with all the money Apple has they could produce and outstanding product, but it seems it was always style over function. As smart as Apple used to be, it would appear they have lost their way and the top employees to produce top notch products to support the Apple infrastructure. Apple has become an i device company; the Mac division is lacking innovation and “courage” the accessory division is being cut off of funding and staff as well as any products. Does the Board not see where Tim is taking the company? Where is the innovation? The creativity and the new products. Oh Boy wireless ear pods, a watch, give me a freaking break. IMHO Apple is losing. Sitting at a meeting last week looking around I saw a hell of a lot more Surface devices the iPads, still more iPhones though, but not as many as I used to see. Hopefully the Board wises up one day soon and sees the company has lost it’s edge and creative drive.

    • John Smith

      Another thing Apple was known for was Quality over Quantity. They don’t have that either anymore.

    • Icisz

      Well your entitled to your opinion Alex, but where exactly is Tim taking the company that isn’t in line with what it used to do. The innovation is in pushing a technology to its max (which they still do well) and frankly Apple is not really “losing” on anything. Ok so they are not perfect. No company is but one look at patents they submit gives you an idea of what they are working on- and it is more than air pods lol. They don’t ride pine all day smoking legal cannabis wondering what’s next.
      If using turducken Pc tablets appeals to the business world, that speaks more to Pc being used in business more than build quality or anything else, but again, my opinion. Frankly what the board knows and what we know are two very different things, and to assume they are somehow any less successful now than under jobs is way too overstated. The fact that other companies have pulled up thier socks is a good thing, and until I see something really, I mean really profound come from the industry, and specifically Microsoft, Apple has a long way to go down before your statement would have significant meaning.

  • burge

    Apple TV 5 will have this built in along with always on hay Siri.

    • ProllyWild

      This is very possible since they’ve already worked on making iPads and Apple TV hubs to a degree

    • Oscar

      “hay Siri” where’s my horse? hehe

      • Bill

        Neigh.

    • Rikky14

      yea – except they lost their edge there by leaving 4K and HDR out of the AppleTV 4 while Roku and Amazon built it in. Another example of missing the boat. More and more 4K content and Apple is on the outside looking in.

      • burge

        Apparently it’s in the tv 4 and a software update is all it might need to enabled this. Apple did that with the TV 2 and Bluetooth. That was enabled after the TV 3 came out and that didn’t have enabled on release it was around 6 months later.