Apple grounds its AirPort router division for good


Apple's routers are #1.
AirPort wireless routers, we barely knew you!
Photo: Apple

Apple has disbanded the division dedicated to developing its Airport wireless routers, claims a new report.

The product line — which spawned the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time capsule, which Apple continues to sell — hasn’t been updated since 2013.

Apple reportedly began shutting down the team over the past year, when it started shifting people over to other product development groups which generate more revenue for Apple, such as its Apple TV division.

One concern mentioned in the Bloomberg article, which broke news of the team disbanding, is that it could make Apple’s product ecosystem “less sticky.” Some features of the AirPort routers require an iPhone or Mac to work, which could give users the opportunity to switch to other phones and PCs.

From a consumer perspective, however, ditching AirPort devices could turn out to be a positive — since Apple has frequently lagged behind other rivals in adopting new standards. The company also charges more for its wireless routers.

Drilling down and focusing only on hardware which generates Apple healthy amounts of revenue has been something of a theme of 2016. Earlier in the year, Apple made the call to stop producing its own external monitors, with the focus instead being on selling high-res displays made by LG Electronics.

Apple originally debuted its AirPort networking card alongside the iBook in 1999 as the key component for delivering cable-free internet access to the masses for the first time.

It’s not known how long it will continue selling existing AirPort devices.

  • Sentinel Jones

    What does this mean for the TimeCapsules, which often are combined with the Airport functionality into a single device?

    • GreenGirl

      Buggered basically.

    • TrueNorth_Steve

      simple go out buy a D Link dir 868L – hang an USB drive off the back of it.

  • 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.

    • Deplorable Lance Corvette

      Keeping in mind that millions of people like myself don’t want a Google Home competitor (whatever that is) but rather just to plug in and use a wireless router without any hassle.

      Sort of like them getting rid of the headphone jack on the new iPhones when tens of millions of people – pretty much everybody on the planet – needs that jack to be able to plug their music in to pretty much every electronic device out there.

    • V900

      Doubt that Apple is working on a “Google Home” competitor. Cook doesn’t seem sold on the idea…

  • thinkfurther

    It’s the Airport Utility that I rely upon. Perhaps they could spend some time updating it to other routers.

  • David Kaplan

    that sucks…. we have an airport extreme at home…

    • Mac2020

      I don’t see this affect what you already had? Unless you need a new replacement in the future, which in this case, plenty of other alternatives (with the exception they are missing the Apple logos).

  • Deplorable Lance Corvette

    This is from another article on COM about Apple under Jobs: “Apple refused to do this, believing that companies serious about software should also build their own hardware.”

    Then there’s this from the article: “The product line — hasn’t been updated since 2013.”

    What’s my point? I honestly believe Apple’s good years are over, when they created great software, beautiful hardware on which to run it, and incredibly easy to use ancillary products such as the Airport. In other words an entire compatible, easy to use, and consistent computing ecosystem <- this is what made Apple, well, Apple.

    Since Jobs departure we get things like in the second statement, there's no unifying theme of Apple products, software and ancillary products. It's all about the apple watch and newest iPhone. I get the economics of it, but what kept me a customer was the whole package.

    I also want to note that my MacBook to this day ten years after I first bought a MacBook still flags MacBook as misspelled. I feel like that's related to my point somehow.

  • Grits n Gravy

    If true and they stop sending security updates to the Airports, I’m going to sell mine and go with either Google Wifi or Eero or something like that

  • DM

    I switched to the eero and LOVE IT! It is by far the best experience in wireless I have had in a long long time.