We’ve been hearing reports that Apple is getting ready to release new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsules. Further, the new devices will reportedly feature software caching that determines what devices connect to it and automatically download relevant updates, speeding up the process.
The reports are based on references in an update to the AirPort Utility software that was released yesterday. Code within the new update apparently references a 5th generation AirPort Extreme, and a 4th generation Time Capsule, and additional code from this release (and previous versions of the AirPort Utility) indicates that the devices will feature the new caching feature. The screenshot below shows the leaked code.
9to5Mac has apparently been aware of this possibility for some time, claiming that they know that Apple has internally been testing Time Capsules to cache software updates for both Mac and iOS devices, and it apparently works by “learning” which devices connect to it frequently, and automatically retrieving updates for those devices, making the process of applying updates to your devices much quicker.
It’s also possible that the device could cache iCloud data, such as iOS backups, and could even provide longer-term storage for storing images, settings, and other iOS and iCloud-related data for longer than Apple’s new data centers are capable of storing it. Rumors have also suggested that the new devices might be powered by an Apple A4 or A5 processor and run iOS, which would bring them greater configurability and options.
It’s not clear when Apple might be planning on implementing this feature, but considering that new AirPort Extremes and Time Capsules are expected in the very near future, we’d say it will likely be sooner rather than later.