found drama

get oblique

plays well with others

by Rob Friesel

the new AirPort ExtremePerhaps this is stating the obvious but amongst today’s clamor of Apple’s miscellaneous product updates1 was a related, relatively silent update:  the new AirPort Extreme.

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.

  1. Each model in the desktop line got refreshes today: new Mac minis, new iMacs, and new Mac Pros. []
  2. …and/or iPod touch. []
  3. Since 802.11g has been a trust home sidekick for so many years now with nary a re-buffered moment of iTunes streaming, eh? []
  4. Didn’t Steve Jobs allege during its introduction that tv was something of a hobby for him? a personal project? []
  5. Roku Netflix player, I’m looking in your direction. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night; weekend homebrewer. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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