It’s an important but understated move that acknowledges two other products which did not get updated today: the iPhone and the tv.
With respect to the first, the dual-band nature of the new AirPort Extreme is a direct nod to the iPhone. Apple is selling shitloads of iPhones — shitloads of them, by just about every available account. But the iPhone’s wi-fi is 802.11g; and there is no indication that 802.11n is going to debut in that handheld device any time soon. This “deficiency” more/less directly cannibalizes (or otherwise damages) sales of the previous generation of AirPort Extreme. Why pay a premium for an 802.11n router when you’ll just need to step down to g for that fancy new phone? No longer: setup dual-band to add simultaneous g and n connectivity and suddenly you’re golden. And you don’t have the added hassle of bridging your n and g networks manually. So you could do things like (you know) use that Remote app.
And that there is our oblique nod to the tv. What’s represented in the iPhone2 Remote app is part of that digital hub vision. Your phone (i.e., iPhone) likely doesn’t leave your hand/pocket/side. With a little AirPort (nee wi-fi), you can control the music etc. from wherever you are in the house (i.e., on the network). Where the dual-band re-enters the equation here3 is that Remote remains useful (over g) while still allowing you to maximize throughput (over n) to tv for music and (increasingly) video4. Acknowledging the iPhone/tv relationship in this equation also includes one other oblique nod: to the other, non-Apple devices in the home’s digital hub that are quickly falling into the 802.11g ghetto5. The dual-band nature not only says We’re here for the iPhone, it also says We’ll play well with others.
- Each model in the desktop line got refreshes today: new Mac minis, new iMacs, and new Mac Pros. [↩]
- …and/or iPod touch. [↩]
- Since 802.11g has been a trust home sidekick for so many years now with nary a re-buffered moment of iTunes streaming, eh? [↩]
- Didn’t Steve Jobs allege during its introduction that tv was something of a hobby for him? a personal project? [↩]
- Roku Netflix player, I’m looking in your direction. [↩]