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

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