Although greatly overshadowed by recent releases of the Apple TV and the iPhone, the new Apple Airport Extreme Base Station was also recently released by Apple and probably deserves a little more recognition than it’s gotten so far.
The new Airport Extreme is an upgrade from the previous version in multiple ways. The design changed to a square look, similar to that of a mini-Mac or the new Apple TV, with small dimensions of only 1.3 inches high and 6.5 inches square. The wireless capabilities are the other major upgrade which now covers the new 802.11n standard, but is still backwards compatible with the 802.11b and 802.11g technologies.
“The new Airport Extreme is the most powerful and easy to use Wi-Fi base station that we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With five times the performance and twice the range, now you can transfer bigger files faster and get access to the Internet and your favorite digital media from many areas in your house you couldn’t reach before.”
The Airport Extreme has connections for up to 3 Ethernet ports and a USB port directly into the box, but of course any 802.11x compliant device will be able to connect, including both a Mac and a PC. Connecting a hard drive to the USB port of the Airport extreme turns the USB drive into a networked drive, and plugging in a printer creates a wireless networked printing solution.
In this product, Apple has upgraded an already convenient and space conscious networking device to continue to grow with the technology. The new Airport Extreme will be available for consumers in February of this year retailing for $179 USD.