updated 10:55 pm EST, Wed January 31, 2007
New AirPort Extreme ships
Apple today began shipping its new 802.11n-based AirPort Extreme Base Station, only a few weeks after it was announced at the Expo and slightly ahead of its previously anticipated late February timeframe. Apple confirmed shipments of the revamped $179 wireless access point in an email to customers and began telling others that they can expect shipments within the next few weeks. "Apple today began shipping our new AirPort Extreme Base Station (802.11n)," the company wrote in an email to one MacNN reader. "We are delighted to tell you that we plan to ship your AirPort Extreme Base Station (802.11n) two weeks earlier than we had anticipated. We now plan to ship your product on or before Wednesday, February 14. No action on your part is required." Earlier this week, the company offered users of some Intel Core 2 Duo-based Macs the ability to enable the faster, more advanced wireless protocol on their Macs through a software enabler available from the company's online store for $1.99.
Supporting up to 50 users, the device offers up to five times the performance and twice the range of 802.11g networks. On the back, the device offers a USB port for connecting a shared printer or for sharing a USB-based hard drive with other networked users. It also includes a three-port router for wired connectivity.
The dual-band device can be setup to work on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz spectrum, reducing the chance of radio interference, the company said. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 for setup/administration and shared network storage functions; Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later or Windows XP is required for shared printing; it ships with an one-year limited warranty.