Following yesterday’s refresh of new 2TB and 3TB Time Capsules, Apple apparently quietly refreshed their AirPort Extreme wireless base station as well. Considering that there are no visible spec changed (or price changes), however, I am curious as to why.
A product refresh with no new features, no price changes, and no apparent changes of any kind at all seems strange to me, nevertheless, Apple’s AirPort Extreme, which continues to sell for the same $179 price tag, received an updated model number on the Apple Online Store under just those circumstances.
The refresh follows numerous rumors of an impending refresh, many of which suggested a device that ran iOS as its firmware, possibly included a new A4 or A5 chip, and included specific iCloud-related features, such as local storage of backups and updates. None of these features seemed to come to fruition, however.
The model number of the refreshed unit is MD031AM/A, while the previous generation’s model number is MC340AM/A. The newly refreshed Time Capsules, aside from receiving storage-related upgrades, also didn’t receive any new features or internal hardware that Apple is letting on about.
So, what’s the deal? Here’s what I think.
My thought is that Apple has in fact made hardware changes to these devices that will enable them to work better with iCloud, but isn’t going to reveal the new abilities until iOS 5 is released this fall. I suspect that a firmware update for the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule will bring the new features (such as Mac and iOS update caching and built-in iCloud support) to life this fall. Again, I can’t be sure, but it does seem incredibly odd that a refresh would occur with no visible changes at all aside from a model number.
Your thoughts? As always, sound off in the comments!