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Apple Exiting Wi-Fi Router Biz

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by thiggins, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    640x-1.jpg
    Bloomberg today reported that Apple has been shutting down the group that develops its AirPort Wi-Fi routers for the past year.

    This should come as no real surprise, given that Apple has not updated its router line since 2013.

    This is not great news for Broadcom, which supplies the devices for AirPort Extremes. But Broadcom still remains a key supplier for MacBooks, including one of the few 3x3 802.11ac radios in MacBook Pros.

    Read Bloomberg's complete report.
     
  2. bodean

    bodean Very Senior Member

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  3. System Error Message

    System Error Message Part of the Furniture

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    those apple fans who must have everything apple wont be happy :p
     
    Dewwey likes this.
  4. mlg321

    mlg321 Regular Contributor

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    Not all that surprising, albeit their popularity among consumers, but I guess this can explain the lack of updates to the Extreme and Express. They were easy to setup and aesthetically pleasing, which meant you didn't have to hid them.

    No more thunderbolt displays
    No more Magsafe
    No more AirPorts
    Whats next in the name of profits?
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  5. RMerlin

    RMerlin Part of the Furniture

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    I guess @sfx2000 is gonna spend the night out drinking.
     
    ChriscomIT, oletuv and Makaveli like this.
  6. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    :D

    Not really a surprise... they've been doing some odd product decisions lately..
     
    ^Tripper^ and oletuv like this.
  7. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    I don't think it'll be a big ding on Broadcom (or QC-Atheros, which powers the Express) - Broadcom is still the WiFi chipset in every one of Apple's product line..
     
  8. hggomes

    hggomes Very Senior Member

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    Not good news for the owners and specially for the ones wanting to sell it...
     
  9. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

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    Phones and iPads, too?
     
  10. hggomes

    hggomes Very Senior Member

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    Yes.
     
  11. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Yes... many times the chip is part of a multi-chip module, but the chipset is still Broadcom.
     
  12. hggomes

    hggomes Very Senior Member

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    I know quite some users that sold recently RT-AC88U / RT-AC5300 to buy a Apple Airport Time Capsule. :rolleyes:
     
  13. RMerlin

    RMerlin Part of the Furniture

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    I'm a bit surprised to see them get out of the wifi market personally, because people are getting used to paying 200-400$ for a router these days. That would have meant people getting more willing to pay Apple's usual high prices for a router. And the "ease of use" that Google is starting to apply to their new wifi products would have been quite at home with Apple's usual minimalist designs. Devices like the OnHub are something I would have expected to see from Apple.

    My personal feeling is that Apple gradually returning to their 90s era, where they are searching themselves. They are trying to refocus and to expand, but don't seem to be finding anything that's sticking to the wall so far (look at their TV/car plans that aren't going anywhere, the flop of the iWatch, etc...) The 90s had a few good ideas, but they failed to make them stick, like the Newton.

    (and let's not talk about the 299$ USD book they are launching.)
     
    mike2h likes this.
  14. RMerlin

    RMerlin Part of the Furniture

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    I doubt Apple was a big customer when it came to the SoCs used by the AirPorts.

    So far, I have only ever encountered a single AirPort in my line of work. At least here locally, they aren't really popular.
     
  15. Makaveli

    Makaveli Regular Contributor

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    And there is now no Steve jobs to saved them like he did in the 90's!
     
  16. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Like I mentioned earlier - I'm not really surprised - it's been quite some time since any product refreshes - The Extreme AC/Time Capsule date back to 2013, and the Airport Express is around the same time... not even a size bump on the storage within the TimeCapsule.

    I honestly don't think many people were working on the Airports - and Bloomberg didn't say the Airports were cancelled, just that the few team members that were working on Airport have been reassigned to other projects - which Apple has done in the past, moving folks from OSX over to iOS (and then back and forth from there)...

    Perhaps they'll be working on something like HomeKit hub or another iteration of the Apple TV - HomeKit hasn't really taken off, and perhaps this is due to not enough resources behind that initiative - and that hub could have routing/wifi capability as part of that - who knows?

    (Maybe they're working on the Apple Device for Internet of Things development - see below)

    heroheader1.png

    (just kidding, that was a 4/1 joke from Hackaday.com - more stuff here on that one)​

    The Windows Airport Utility is very old - v5.6 dates back to 2012, and even the Mac and iOS utilities are fairly dated - yes, we did see a refresh on the firmware for the 11n/11ac devices back last June, but prior to that, the only update was to address the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug...

    They never integrated iCloud functionality - there's "back to my Mac", but that's actually pre-iCloud from the MobileMe days, and that functionality has been largely replaced by iCloud on the Macs anyways - it's one of those features that not very many people made use of...

    There's so much they could have done - App download caching, integration with iCloud storage for near line and sync back to iCloud, that's just a couple of things off the top of my head...

    The Airports had some nice features - Bonjour Sleep Proxy is very useful, having a working Wake on Wireless LAN that supports not just Macs, but Windows as well (as long as iTunes was installed, and some clever trickery done) - Time Machine support obviously, as that was much more reliable for near-line backup than what the other NAS and Router/AP vendors have tried, and then the whole MulticastDNS (Bonjour) implementation itself, which supports Airplay and Airprint fairly seamlessly...

    The Express was always nice for print serving (which the Extreme also does), and of course AirTunes, which is pretty awesome in it's own right...

    Guest Networking with Airports was unique in that they supported guest networking across multiple AP's - whether backhauled via ethernet or as an "extended" network over wifi - it was an enterprise level feature that was quietly put it for the 11n and later Airports.

    Many of the other vendors support some of this function, but I do think this is an opportunity for them to improve, as some continue to have problems with one or more...

    Sometimes I think Apple has lost a bit of focus on the customers - first with the iPhone 7 headphone jack, and now the recent MacBook Pro refresh (let's take away all the ports that people do use with Pro's (HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB-A, previously onboard ethernet/firewire/SDCard/etc... and replace them with USB-C connectors that nobody really has much of a selection - that's not "courage", that's arrogance and big misstep... at least they left the headphone jack in that one, but they removed the digital out on that jack (Macbook Pro headphone had digital audio out on that jack as well as the TRRS analog) - lot of "pro's" were pretty unhappy about that - and heck, even as a development machine for iOS, one has to buy a USBC to Lightning Cable for 20 bucks...
     
  17. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    Every Mac that has 802.11ac has a BCM4360 chip in it... so while Airport's were not as popular as other 11ac Routers and AP's using that chip, Apple definitely has an impact to Broadcom's bottom line...

    Wondering if Apple is moving towards Intel for the client chips?
     
  18. RMerlin

    RMerlin Part of the Furniture

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    I was specifically referring to AirPorts.
     
  19. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    And I was making the point that the WiFi chipsets that are used in the Airports are also used in every Macintosh that has 11ac...

    The Router SOC, not a big seller for Broadcom in any event - not that it's a one-off, but it's not common in the AC1900 HW realm...

    The bigger question is what's happening with Broadcom in this market segment?
     
  20. oletuv

    oletuv Regular Contributor

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    Seeing your enthusiasm and recommendations regarding AirPort Extreme made me buy one while I stayed at the Radium Hospital in Oslo for my first therapy. :)
    It was delivered last Friday and I'm planning to spend some quality time with my younger son next time I'm back home between chemo therapies.
    We'll probably need some guidance from the better qualified experts on the forum though, like yourself :cool:
     

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