back to article Apple grounds AirPort once and for all. It has departed. Not gonna fly any more. The baggage is dropped off...

Apple is officially getting out of the home networking business. The Cupertino phone flinger has confirmed it is phasing out the AirPort, its wireless router line unveiled in 1999. The current stock will be allowed to run out, and new models are not planned for the foreseeable future. "We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One of their best products.

    I have a Time Capsule that has just sat quietly doing its job for 5 years as both access point and backup device. Never a single issue always just worked. Also on my network is a netgear extender. It is throwing death spasms after far less time. It is a shame to see one of Apples best examples of their “It just Works” policy being discontinued.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: One of their best products.

      It's also odd that in an age when manufacturers are looking for an excuse to have an always on presence in homes so that things like Alexa can work, and to be an IOT hub, Apple has thrown away the AirPort brand that gave them that. AirPort + Siri, anyone?

    2. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: One of their best products.

      Mine, too. I hope it keeps plugging away for another 5 years because it's a rock solid workhorse that never lets me down. Prior to getting it, my home was a veritable graveyard of various sub-par routers that cheerfully dropped connections with gay abandon. To the best of my knowledge, the Airport Extreme has never been hacked or found to have any secret or accidental admin backdoors, which is a bonus if value your security.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: One of their best products.

        Have to agree. They just worked and worked - perfect WiFi mesh before the term because trendy. Tim Cook is losing the plot, isn’t he?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: One of their best products.

          Cook is a beancounter who only knows how to axe the thing which makes the least money this year. When he gets down to just iPhones, he'll announce Apple is closing down.

          Can you believe the wired USB keyboard got the chop last year? WTF are you supposed to do with your iMac if NVRAM has a funny turn and loses the Bluetooth keyboard pairing, just gaze admiringly at its thinness?

          1. Alex Coward 1

            Re: One of their best products.

            Apples wireless keyboard also works as a wired keyboard. Try harder, troll.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: One of their best products.

              I think when you use it wired it automatically pairs Bluetooth for you in OS X and just uses the cable for charging, which is no good for the EFI password screen.

              Even if I am wrong about that, you're still left with the full sized version being nearly three times the price as the wired one was, doesn't have a hub, and if I wanted to use it wired to avoid having to plug it in to charge it every so often and avoid waiting for it to pair when first turning on and switching users then I'd have to leave it on constant charge which isn't good for the battery. Not exactly an improvement on a wired keyboard.

              1. -tim

                Re: One of their best products.

                Just how am I to use a wireless keyboard in any industry that requires security audits? I pointed out to my former bank that the wireless keyboards that let them type in account numbers and PIN could be picked up outside their building.

              2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

                Re: One of their best products.

                @Dan 55 - you are wrong on the first point. It works as a wired keyboard over usb-lightning. Yes its expensive for that use case tho.

            2. FlossyThePig

              Re: One of their best products.

              @Alex Coward 1 Apples wireless keyboard also works as a wired keyboard.

              There is nowhere to plug a cable into my iMac keyboard. Perhaps you can tell me how to do it.

              1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

                Re: One of their best products.

                @flossy in the lightning port. Its fully USB compatible.

          2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: One of their best products.

            You do realise that you can buy spare USB wired keyboards for about a fiver?

            And that modern apple keyboards aren't great for typing on anyway, worth investing in a decent mechanical keyboard to get any work done. Or even an early 90s Apple extended keyboard with an ADB to USB adaptor....

    3. Graham 25

      Re: One of their best products.

      Unfortunately, there are many out there who recall the 'Time Capsule Tombstone' problem which affected tens of thousands of TC's consigning them to early death when a component burned itself out on the motherboard and left the device a complete brick. The failure could be predicted down to a specific week or so of life.

      If anything the TC is Apples best example of nice idea, poorly implemented and hardly 'it just works' =and more like "it works and then packs up in an entirely predictable manner and there was nothing that could be done'"

      1. silks

        Re: One of their best products.

        I was lucky to buy my Time Capsule after the reliability problem was resolved. It's been sat in my under stairs cupboard quietly backing up my Mac for years.

    4. TVU Silver badge

      Re: One of their best products.

      "I have a Time Capsule that has just sat quietly doing its job for 5 years as both access point and backup device. Never a single issue always just worked. Also on my network is a netgear extender. It is throwing death spasms after far less time. It is a shame to see one of Apples best examples of their “It just Works” policy being discontinued"

      Sadly, the way things are going, Apple Corp might just end up as IPhones/iPads, iOS, iTunes and AirPods.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple said in a statement to The Register.

    Whaaaaaaaaaa?

    1. fleed

      Re: Apple said in a statement to The Register.

      This is the real news!

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Apple said in a statement to The Register.

      It does happen from time to time.

      C.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Apple said in a statement to The Register.

        Presumably when they let the PR intern answer the mail?

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Apple said in a statement to The Register.

          when they let the *former* PR intern answer the mail?

          There - fixd that for you..

  3. tempemeaty

    Then in 2020...

    ...Apple goes 100% iPhone-fondler, gives up on Mac and throws it out the door without a parachute...

    1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Then in 2020...

      I prefer the term 'Fruity Foxconn-rebrander' myself.

  4. ZenCoder
    Pint

    I miss the old Apple.

    In 2009 I worked with 3 high end arm mounted screens, 2 from my self built Windows desktop, 1 holding an aluminum MacBook, with software allowing me to cut and paste and share a mouse and keyboard doing iOS and LAMP programming and light administration of a dedicated Linux server.

    The MacBook make the easy things easy, and the windows desktop did the gaming and the heavy lifting.

    When my Mac got slow I doubled the memory and put in an SSD with only a few screws, when the battery went I bought a 3rd party replacement ... no screws required. But one one of the best things was everything Time Machine Related. I've yet to find an equivalent set it and forget it ... free with the OS solution to both file level and partition level restores.

    I'm still someone at heat a hardware tinkerer and you are now an seller of gear that is out of my price range for something essentially a disposable non upgrade-able, non disposable appliance ... we've grown apart.

    Still you will be missed. Time Machine in related hardware most of all.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: I miss the old Apple.

      Time Machine is a great idea, but when it goes wrong - as it does from time to time - it is nigh on impossible to find out what has failed. The lack of feedback and error messages in what is a critical application is ridiculous; if a backup fails, you are told nothing about what happened and how to fix it.

      I understand that Apple likes minimalism and doesn't want to bombard users with unnecessary information, but we're not psychic.

  5. redneck

    ubiquiti

    For those of you saying you'll keep your AirPort going for the next 5 years, Apple probably won't be pushing security patches during that time.

    Instead, you might consider wifi produced by a former Apple engineer. Ubiquiti Networks makes some fine hardware. (Its stock hasn't done that poorly either.)

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: ubiquiti

      Scuttlebutt has it that Ubiquiti's making a cockup of their Unifi software - https://plus.google.com/+GregMerideth/posts/3zKNduMQYFu

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: ubiquiti

        I put in a Ubiqiti mesh for my house - it is the first time I have ever had a mesh working as well as I'd expected it to. I'd tried Apple Airports, they didn't hand off well, and the various other routers I'd tried to home-roll this on over the years were even worse. I was so pleased with the kit I bought two of their security cameras based on the brand alone, and they work brilliantly too. Highly recommend it, although to be fair I have't tried the software upgrade you reference...

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: ubiquiti

      I’ve been running their gear for a couple of months and am very pleased with it so far. I did need to tweak the access point to equal my old Netgear’s throughout though (if you’re looking at buying ubiquiti then you’re probably open to tweaking a bit!).

  6. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    There may be some good out of it

    They are also terminating time capsule. This may mean that they will finally stop regularly breaking Time Machine versus third party NASes.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: There may be some good out of it

      Nah, they'll just drop Time Machine to 3rd party NASes because it's not cloudy enough and doesn't work well with their fantastic new filesystem.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        New filesystem ?

        How many more filesystems do we need ?

        The day holographic storage comes out of lab announcements and into the real world, maybe, but until we have a radically new storage paradigm, I think we know how to store our files on magnetic or optical supports well enough.

      2. clanger9

        Re: There may be some good out of it

        Time Machine works perfectly on the new apfs if you know where to look.

        On High Sierra, Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing > right click Advance Options, check "Share as a Time Machine backup destination"

        That's why they've abandoned the Time Capsule: they'd rather sell you another Mac to do the same job...

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: There may be some good out of it

          But that can't work: we have two macs, and both their disks are more than half full. They can't mean you buy an otherwise unused mac just for backup (OK, they can).

          1. P. Lee Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: There may be some good out of it

            While it would be far too smug of me to point out tm running fine on my linux server, I will pause to consider whether Apple's complete lack of on-prem backup means for non-iphoney hardware.

            In my estimation, you roll out the better solution before you kill the old one, just in case.

            Not only does it seem like a gaping hole in the product solution, it also seems like a really stupid waste of an on-prem presence, even if you have no current plans for it.

            I'm sure it is possible to sync the 256G iphone to the cloud... but does it make sense?

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: There may be some good out of it

          Time Machine works perfectly on the new apfs if you know where to look.

          On High Sierra, Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing > right click Advance Options, check "Share as a Time Machine backup destination"

          I thought when a Time Machine partition was created on a Mac, it had to be converted back to HFS+ because APFS doesn't do hardlinks to directories?

          1. clanger9

            Re: There may be some good out of it

            “I thought when a Time Machine partition was created on a Mac, it had to be converted back to HFS+“

            Correct. But you can still create new backups to APFS. You just can’t convert an existing HFS+ Time Machine volume to APFS.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: There may be some good out of it

      my Time machine variant works perfectl;y well on my two NASs - one a 3rd party RAID array and the other a timecapsule.

  7. An nonymous Cowerd

    eBay?

    I’ve been buying some old Airport gear on eBay, since on of my airport expresses ‘died’. It’s easy to dremel into two halves one with 3-volt psu and other with mini-router, then replace the 3-volt psi with an external wall-wart and stick the working bits inside a hollowed out D-Link case or why. Apple helpfully has all wiring coded black, + black, - black, so some care is needed. I accidentally bought an old terabyte TC as some UK ebayer put it on sale as an ‘express’.

    Apple now offer a ‘family’ 200GB of cloud storage (in Maryland or Utah?) for under £3/mo & a terabyte for not much more. I suppose your future time capsule Mac backup will be on somone else’s h/w?

    Anyway, don’t throw away ‘dead’ airport stuff, sell it to me on eBay, thanks!

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: eBay?

      Apple now offer a ‘family’ 200GB of cloud storage

      Regardless of where the data is stored and how much it costs (my "family storage" currently stands at somewhere around 2.5TB, and 90% of that is self-created media, not great scads of films, tv shows and music), the biggest downside of online storage (for me, at any rate) is the rate of access. Uploading the photos and videos from phones and cameras to my local NAS after a holiday takes long enough (recently came back from four days away with something like 40GB of new meda), but to online storage?

      At present my ADSL2 uplinks at something like 1Mbit if the wind's in the right direction. 40GB would take getting on for four days to upload. If I were to upgrade to VDSL (available since last year) it looks like I'd get only 10Mbps uplink, so it'd still be an 8 or 10 hour job.

      And then when I want to access the photos and videos, or my children want to make (say) a collage of memories? Something that, with media stored (near) locally, takes hardly any time at all, suddenly begins to feel like I'm back in the 1990s and dragging clipart off a dozen floppy discs(*).

      Until "broadband" speeds are universally in-line with local networking speeds, purely online storage is a non-starter for me. A minimum of 100/100Mbps should be ok at the moment, though I have to note here that for reasons I needn't go into, my NAS is currently the "wrong" side of a wireless link that has a sustainable throughput of somewhere around 80 - 100Mbps and it does make some operations - for example loading thumbnails for a directory full of images - a little more frustrating than it used to be when it was wired in to the 1Gbps network.

      As a backup? Hmmm... yes, so long as the backup can happen automagically in the background.

      And I didn't even mention data caps...

      M.

      (*)I only recently realised that one JPEG from my 9 year-old DSLR is equivalent to somewhere between two and three of the Acorn 1.6MB floppy discs I used to use every day, and one from my son's "bridge" camera would take between four and five!

  8. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    I have an airport express and an airport extreme. The airport express died after 5 years, the airport extreme has been used daily since I dunno how long. I had hooked up an HD to it at some point as backup, this is now done by the Raspberry pi. The pi is my DHCP and DNS server also, because, well, dynamic DNS is handy (as in DHCP sends updates to my DNS).

  9. tfb Silver badge

    What happens to Time Machine?

    I'm still running 10.12, but TM works very well for me, currently to a newish Time Capsule. I have other backup tools, of course, including ones that use 'cloud' (ie the very wonderful Arq backing up to AWS), but anything that uses storage the other side of the DSL modem is not going to cut it for day-to-day system-level backup & restore because there just is not enough bandwidth. I also really don't want external disks I have to glue onto my laptop all the time.

    So what is the future for this: are there recommended NASes? Are Apple going to recommend ones that work with TM, or are they just going to drop people who care about backup in the shit?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: What happens to Time Machine?

      Quite a few NAS claim to work with Time Machine.

      Maybe they work, maybe they don't, but you can be sure that Apple will never say.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: What happens to Time Machine?

      are there recommended NASes?

      I don't know about recent versions as our Macs are a couple of versions behind, but we have TimeMachine on two Macs targetting two different NASes. The QNAP NAS can only share one TM-compatible target, so only one of the Macs can backup to the QNAP. I have no idea about Buffalo, Netgear units etc, but if Time Machine was my main concern I'd be very careful to check before buying.

      The FreeNAS unit, on the other hand, can share as many TM-compatible targets as you like :-)

      Hwyl!

      M.

      1. JaimieV

        Re: What happens to Time Machine?

        You can point multiple Macs at one destination TM target. Each Mac creates its own sparsebundle to backup into. They cope with the inevitable running out of space okay.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: What happens to Time Machine?

          You can point multiple Macs at one destination TM target

          Never realised that, but then presumably that makes it rather difficult to assign a quota - the QNAP box, for example, has 6TB online and I've allocated 1TB to Time Machine because I want to use the rest for other stuff. If two machines were sharing, it could get complicated. Thanks for the heads-up though.

          M.

        2. paulf Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: What happens to Time Machine?

          @ JaimieV "You can point multiple Macs at one destination TM target. Each Mac creates its own sparsebundle to backup into. They cope with the inevitable running out of space okay."

          I agree on the first point as I have three MacBooks (Pro/Pro/Air) pointing at a single Time Machine target on an old Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (v1 Sparc) and they all coexist happily. The only thing I'd disagree on is the running out of space gracefully. It's fine if they back up one at a time as if the space gets low they clear up their own Sparsebundle accordingly. If more than one is backing up at the same time and the space runs out they deal with it by throwing all their toys out the pram and dumping their entire Sparsebundle as corrupt taking the full backup history with it.

          Apart from this aspect I've found Time Machine on 3rd party NAS very reliable.

    3. Oh Matron!

      Re: What happens to Time Machine?

      https://www.howtogeek.com/276468/how-to-use-a-raspberry-pi-as-a-networked-time-machine-drive-for-your-mac/

    4. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: What happens to Time Machine?

      Our current solution is a Synology NAS and Carbon Copy Cloner making daily backups.

      I found that while TM makes it easy to go a bit back, it gives a lot of traffic and I am not sure if it excludes caches and similar.

      Oh, and CCC has wonderful support and have saved my day in the past.

  10. Brex

    Yet another blunder by the Chief Social Activist

    Another nail in the coffin of SJ's legacy, thanks to the idiot in charge at Apple - the AirPort stations were among the company's best and most reliable products. My entire house is powered by them without any issues.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Yet another blunder by the Chief Social Activist

      And it never occurred to anyone at Apple that they could have pushed out an update to turn all existing AirPort hardware into a HomeKit home hub. Instead they'd rather make you buy an Apple TV or Home Hub and HomeKit is going nowhere.

      If you want to make people use a new ecosystem, you make it cheap and easy to get into. That means you don't have to buy yet another box. Many people already have an AirPort/Time Capsule and those that don't might be tempted to get one if it also does HomeKit so they can dip their toes into that too.

      They. Have. No. Vision. Whatsoever.

      They lost that when they lost SJ.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Yet another blunder by the Chief Social Activist

        "Cheap to get into"?

        This is Apple we're talking about, not Amazon or Google.

  11. AegisPrime
    Unhappy

    End of an era...

    I have a first-gen 2008 Time Capsule I've been using as a wireless hub and NAS for 10 years on my Windows and Linux machines - amazing piece of kit that just keeps on trucking. I also bought a couple of AirPort Expresses around the same time - one my ex-wife nabbed, the other's currently attached to 20 meters of ethernet cable and acting a a wifi receiver for a friend's business so he can get internet access.

    These really were product of a different age - dead easy to set up and completely reliable - the thought of replacing them someday with modern tat just makes me sad. Bah.

  12. tip pc Bronze badge

    Sad times

    I’ve still got all my Apple wireless gear from the flying saucer 56k dial up modem through to my last AirPort Extreme (pre ac) and Express that must be at least 8 and 5 years old respectively.

    I was holding off buying a full mesh system, waiting for what I assumed would be apples HomeKit enabled mesh WiFi system, to link my iot gear and stuff I haven’t got yet like the Apple speaker or latest 2 gens of appletv.

    Ubiquiti, google, bt or linksys which do I go for or do I get a TC and hold out for the next 10 years?

    1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Sad times

      Ruckus

    2. groovyf

      Re: Sad times

      Go grab Ubiquiti's Amplifi HD kit... that'll be my port of call when the AirPort Extreme dies on me.

  13. chivo243 Silver badge

    iCloud killed the Wireless backup star

    I think the sync to the iCloud either wi-fi or mobile has really reduced the need for a local backup solution. I've had a second hand 1TB TM for over a year now. It works nicely, and extends the wireless to the top floor.

    Like so many Apple products before it, so long...

  14. Richrootes

    Wonder what this means for AirPlay?

    I use Expresses all over the house to stream music - it'll be quite annoying if this goes away....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wi-Fi like it's 1999

    "...first AirPort models emerged at the end of the previous millennium, wireless networking was still a novel concept to most consumers – Wi-Fi itself had only come out two years earlier – and home..."

    At the risk of being shot down in a ball of flames: Wi-Fi in fact didn't appear until 1999. 802.11 predated it by a few years but wasn't until later it got a catchy name.

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