The longstanding rumors of Apple exiting the Wi-Fi router market were true after all.
A spokesperson confirmed today in a statement to the media that the Cupertino technology giant has officially discontinued its AirPort and Time Capsule base stations.
We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products. They’ll be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.
An Apple spokesperson told Engadget that the company would continue to provide hardware and software support, but the devices themselves will only be available while supplies last.
A spokesperson added that Apple might revisit Wi-Fi routers if it can make a meaningful contribution to the space, although that’s not very likely. The firm will publish support documents over the next few weeks to help guide customers wondering what to buy.
Apple introduced the AirPort line back in 1999 when wireless networking was a luxury. The products have certainly helped popularize the home Wi-Fi market.
I’m saddened that they won’t be advancing AirPort hardware any more.
I think these are some of the best base stations on the market even if they’re no longer price-competitive and there are more capable routers with better admin consoles and web interfaces out there. But that doesn’t change the fact that AirPort routers have some pretty nice features.
I like that my Time Capsule base station doubles as a 3TB network drive that other devices can access with shared or special privileges. I also like its software simplicity, the convenience of easy setup via the AirPort Utility app, seamless software updates, four built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual-channel 802.11ac networking (2.4GHz and 5GHz bands), guest networking, the ability to share a printer or an external disk connected to the device and more.
Bloomberg repored in November 2016 that Apple had disbanded its router unit and stopped developing these routers. The firm began shutting down the wireless router team over the course of 2015, dispersing engineers to other product development groups, said the report.
Commenting on the future of the AirPort family, Apple said customers “love our AirPort products” and pledged to continue selling them. “Connectivity is important in the home and we are giving customers yet another option that is well suited for larger homes,” it commented.
A 2017 J.D. Power wireless router satisfaction report put AirPort products at the top with a score of 876, followed by ASUS (860), D-Link (856) and TP-Link (854).
Even though the hardware guys have moved on to other things and Apple is no longer developing AirPorts, it continues to support owners with software updates, like the one that fixed the notorious KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability.
Moreover, AirPort Express with its 3.5mm audio jack and optical audio might be getting AirPlay 2 support that would allow it to show up as a compatible audio target in the Home app.
Do you own any AirPort products? If so, which ones and what are your impressions?
Tell us in comments!