I miss Apple’s AirPort range. Back when I was taking my first forays into home networking, these wireless routers and extenders were a vital part of my setup.
Yet, as per usual, good things couldn’t last.
Back in 2018, Apple bowed out of the networking game entirely and discontinued its AirPort and Time Capsule line-up.
Besides me, one who hasn’t let this slide is Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. In a piece published earlier this week, the renowned Apple analyst and leaker called for the company to reintroduce Wi-Fi routers as part of its product portfolio.
And, honestly? The argument for this relaunch is compelling.
Effectively, Gurman argues that now Apple has finally pulled its head out of its arse with its Mac range (ergo, dropping irritations like the Touch Bar and the Butterfly Keyboard, while improving the MacBook Pro and introducing the M1 chip), the time is nigh for the company to take another look at networking.
There’s some sense in this by itself, but the aspect of Gurman’s reasoning that appealed to me most was the suggestion that Apple should develop a mesh system using its devices.
The company has already done something similar with its AirTags, as it uses a mesh of Apple devices to locate the trackers. In terms of providing a Wi-Fi signal in your home, the company could release an updated AirPort router that then connects to other Apple devices (like the HomePod Mini), creating a mesh network covering your whole house.
It’s a fantastic idea — but it’s not gonna happen.
Why won’t Apple release new routers?
There are two main reasons. Shockingly, let’s start with the first: technical limitations.
When Apple shuttered the AirPort range, it began retailing other companies’ routers as a replacement. For example, it’s currently selling a Linksys Velop mesh system with three units for $500.
The point here is that mesh networking doesn’t come cheap. And if the company wants to get its beloved ‘Apple tax’ and deliver a comparable…