Apple announced that it is officially exiting the Wi-Fi router business, and the company will now end production of its AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule models. After launching the first model in 1999, Apple more recently let its AirPort line stagnate when competitors — including Google, Samsung, Huawei, Netgear, Belkin, Linksys, and Eero — pushed forward with newer technologies like mesh connectivity. Some routers, like those from Samsung, also come with smart home integration, allowing consumers to replace a traditional router and a smart home base with one stand-alone unit.
“We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products,” Apple said in a statement given to iMore. “They will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last.” If you’re in the market for a new router and prefer one made by Apple, you still have an opportunity to pick one up while Apple continues to sell its remaining inventory.
The cheapest AirPort model that Apple sells on its website is the AirPort Express, and that model retails for $99. The AirPort Extreme is listed at $199, while the AirPort Time Capsule starts at $299 for 2TB of storage. A 3TB model is also available for a $100 price bump.
Apple’s latest move may come as little surprise, since the company has begun offering Linksys’ mesh networking system called Velop in its retail stores. When the AirPort routers debuted, Apple showcased how routers could be made to look appealing in the home or a small office space. But now the minimalist design has been replicated by competitors in the space.
In addition to mesh connectivity and design, AirPort’s newer competitors also allow users to control and configure their networks using a connected smartphone app. The second-generation Eero mesh networking routers, for example, allow you to control which devices can access the internet through a smartphone app, and an optional subscription brings parental controls and more security features.
In a similar move, when Apple stopped offering its pro-quality Thunderbolt Displays, it chose to sell LG’s monitors in its stores instead.
If you are a current AirPort customer or are looking to obtain one of the remaining models in Apple’s inventory, Apple is committed to providing five years of support. If you need a router today, be sure to check out some of our picks for the best routers you can buy.
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