It's official — Apple is discontinuing its AirPort line of routers, including the AirPort, AirPort Extreme, and Time Capsule.
Apple confirmed it'll still offer software and hardware support for those devices, likely bug fixes and security patches, but won't be resupplying after it sells the remaining stock.
Apple Ends AirPort Line
Rumors about Apple leaving the router market have swirled around for quite some time. In November 2016, Bloomberg reported that the company had disbanded the hardware unit behind its routers, which was last updated in 2013. Since then, Apple's routers have been slowly rendered defunct with the rise of mesh Wi-Fi systems the likes of Google Wifi, Linksys Velop, and others.
Apple will post a series of knowledge-base documents over the next few weeks to help those planning to buy its few remaining AirPort units.
Apple first introduced the AirPort in 1999, a time when any kind of wireless networking was a luxury, as Engadget notes, but times have changed. Wi-Fi routers are so common and ubiquitous that there's simply no need for a base station anymore. In fact, even a mediocre and low-cost router are sufficient enough for most users' needs. Those on the high-end category, meanwhile, have a bevy of options available, like the aforementioned alternatives from Google and Linksys. As a result, Apple has focused less and less on its AirPort line over the past decade, pivoting instead to more important products in its portfolio, such as the HomePod, Apple TV, iPhone, and others.
Not The Total End Of AirPort Yet
Apple's cancelation of the AirPort line is by no means an indication that it's done making routers forever. The company could very well revisit routers if it finds a way to contribute to the landscape in a meaningful way, but that's just mere speculation and a highly unlikely one. Apple may reintroduce a revamped AirPort product in the future, who knows, but in the age of widespread Wi-Fi networks, it has to consider the fact that very few will probably buy it.
Apple fans will be most sentimental about this move. The routers just aren't vital as they once were, and they haven't been really competitive in the price department either. The $199 AirPort Extreme can easily be replaced with a much faster alternative, and that includes a modem and a router.
Do you own an Apple AirPort? Do you think they've gone the way of the dinosaurs? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!