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Apple ends production of AirPort base stations (techcrunch.com)
46 points by smaili 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments

It really is unfortunate. I’ve owned two Airport devices: an Extreme from 2004 (UFO shape, opaque white model) and the current model that I bought back in 2015.

Both have been entirely painless and have performed extremely well. The older of the two served for a decade without so much as flinching the whole time. Software support for them has been great and as far as I know, no Airport has ever been subject to mass exploits.

I’ll keep using my last gen extreme for the time being, but I don’t look forward to shopping for a new router when the time comes. There are plenty of options with great specs/performance but with nation-states and botnet owners exploiting huge numbers of routers with increasing frequency I worry about getting caught with a vulnerable unit. The firmware quality that many mainstream router companies ship their routers with is shockingly bad.

Go pro-sumer. Ubiquiti stuff won't break the bank; Unifi for ease of management, Edge for fine control.

I know there's a lot of people who loved their AirPort Extremes but there is one reason that this made my day: with the discontinuation of Apple routers that used NAT-PNP (0.01% market share), it means UPNP port mapping (99.9% market share) is now universal. That means for any app that needs to accept inbound connections, the arcana of port mapping just got smaller by an order of magnitude.

except all the existing users of airports.

Internet Explorer 6 has over 30 times more marketshare (0.31% vs 0.01%.

So unless you support IE6 users on your website too I don't think there is a particular reason to support an even smaller, less significant userbase.

(If your SSL/TLS settings on your website are even remotely modern and you use SNI, which everyone in the internet does, IE6 won't even bother opening the webpage at all)

Who cares about them, they're such a small userbase (that has been shrinking for years) as to not be worth paying attention to.

Does this mean they will eventually quit supporting Time Machine over the network in macOS since they don't sell their own Time Capsules any more? Or will they continue to support the feature on third party NASes?

In any case I guess that means no hope for an APFS update to Time Machine to make backups faster and more stable.

Doesn’t meant that thankfully.

Apple added Time Machine support for SMB (Windows) shares in Sierra IIRC. So no need for a Time Capsule or any sort of netatalk/avahi Linux setup to emulate one.

See here for details: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/releasenotes/Net...

I'd be guessing they'll be pushing iCloud for this kind of thing in the long term. However, Time Machine really only needs to be client-side dumping to a disk of some sort, so there's no inherent reason it couldn't work on any networked file share (other than Apple crippling third-party file shares on purpose, which I don't believe they do any more)

10.13 added support for Time Machine over SMB (https://developer.apple.com/library/content/releasenotes/Net...), I don’t think network TM support is going away anytime soon. A change to the TM format to take advantage of APFS would be welcomed though

Time Machine Server is not on the list of deprecated services for fall 2018. That should mean it is continuing to work with third party solution.

""The most popular server features—Caching Server, File Sharing Server, and Time Machine Server—have been bundled with every installation of macOS High Sierra since its release in fall 2017, so that even more customers have access to these essential services at no extra cost.""

Source: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208312

There aren't any Third Party solution that is as good as Time Capsule. That is the problem. And in a perfect world, I would love to have Caching Server, File Sharing Server and Time Machine Server, along with Router all in one Server appliance.

> There aren't any Third Party solution that is as good as Time Capsule

None as simple maybe, but I'm not sure I would say none as good. I switched from a Time Capsule to a Synology since the Time Capsule was so slow at disk access (max 20 MB/s)

Carbon Copy Cloner is really good. It creates incremental and bootable copies.

I found TM painfully slow, and the file recover UI is just horrible.

Pretty much any NAS you buy today has AFS support. Buy yourself an Asustor or Synology, toss a few drives in, and it will show up automagically as a Time Machines destination.

That's what I do now (the Time Capsule was just painfully slow at serving disk access) but I'm worried that losing Apple's first-party hardware means they'll drop the feature completely (because why do you need backups, all your Documents, Music and Photos are in iCloud... right?).

Someone else pointed out that they rolled Time Machine Server into High Sierra as a file sharing option so hopefully that's enough to keep the feature alive...

I was in need of an updated router, and since the writing was on the wall for AirPorts I decided to get an Amplifi from Ubiquiti. It was dead simple to set up and it's worked great for both wired and wireless clients in my 1300sqft house. I am led to believe Ubiquiti has a good track record with security updates, too.

I would love to buy an updated AirPort device if they get back to making them again, though.

That's a shame. I have had a few generations of Airports. They were always very reliable and easy to setup. Any idea of how long they will provide security updates?

5 years from last device sold. That’s standard for all Apple hardware.

I bought a refurb Airport Extreme 3 years ago, and I wish In bought it new - as it now rarely shuts down, requiring a manual reboot. I wanted to replace it with another Extreme, but the writing was on the wall, and I didn't want to buy an unsupported product.

It's weird, but I really appreciate that the Airport Extreme looks nice and doesn't look like giant mechanical spider. I've looked at Google Wifi, Eero, and OnHub, but the deal breaker for me is that they only have 1 ethernet port. It's mostly laziness, but I don't want to have to buy a switch. Netgear's Orbi is nice, but I'd rather wait until it actually kicks the bucket before spending $400 on a router.

Ubiquiti has a home-focused product out called AmpliFi and the base router has four ports. I haven't seen one in person, so I don't know how bright the display is at night.

If you use(d) the audio out function on Airport devices to add speakers to iTunes, take a look at Volumio[1]. A Raspberry Pi is an ideal Volumio host, configuration is very straightforward and the results are excellent.

[1] https://volumio.org

From the shop on that site: https://volumio.org/product/ifi-ipurifier2-usb-reclocker/

I know the software is good, but the snake oil... Oy.

Just had a quick browse of the repositories - they're quite out of date compared to the master/s.

e.g. https://github.com/volumio/shairport-sync compared to https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync

But thank you - this lead to finding https://github.com/badaix/snapcast

Currently using shairport-sync, but I'll look into this.


Volumio uses an out of date version of shairport-sync (see my other comment)

One argument I hear constantly is that now all ISP provide Wireless Router + Modem all in one. I haven't seen one that is easy to set up, reliable and performant.

And I don't see ISP has any incentive to improve it.

Apple's router were definitely not the fastest, but they were dead easy to set up with Apple devices, and ultra reliable. Compared to routers few years ago, they were either, easy to crash when you push them to limit, easy to over heat, crashes every few months or once a year.

I think things has got better, but still no match for Apple. From Netgear, ASUS, DLink. Ubnt is great, but it is way to prosumers. I wish they could do consumer product that is dead simple to set up. I have heard good things about EERO, but I haven't had a chance to test them yet.

This is a bummer because I really love my time machine as a router and backup solution.

What’s the next best router out there in terms of coverage, reliability and ease of use?

Fritz!Box: https://en.avm.de/

I wouldn't recommend a Fritz!Box as a replacement for an Airport class device. Maybe Amplifi or Orbi?

I can’t help but think that this and ending production of monitors too is a strategic error. In the old days if you wanted something you would go to the Apple Store and it would be expensive but the best. Now you have to shop around, and what if you find you like something else better and leave Apple altogether?

Apple realizes that not creating its own monitor is a strategic error. They announced that they would be releasing a new monitor during the "Mac Pro roundtable" last year when they first admitted the mistakes they made in the 2013 Mac Pro and that they would be working on a new one.

I always had a problem with the (modern) iMac form factor: the gray band at the bottom makes it so that the screen sits too high, and looking at the middle to topmost area requires either raising your eyes or your head, which on the long run produces fatigue and pain. This wasn't a problem with Cinema/TB displays.

I'm happy user of "old" 802.11n Time Capsules / Extremes (flat models). I've no plans to upgrade. If they break, I'll just buy a used one. Knowing Apple, support (security updates) are not going to end soon.

I'm still using my Airport Express as a wireless receiver for my stereos...old AudioEngine A5's that sound so nice, I have no need for a homepod at the moment...hopefully it will keep chugging away...

The question really is: Do Apple expect Airport Express users to get a HomePod instead in the future? Because I would rather have a cable between my MacBook and my stereo than buy a HomePod.

An excuse to buy an eero system. DM me @nsweaves if you have questions...

:( I was rather hoping for an all-in-one device (Airpod, AirPort, and Apple TV)

My Time Capsule just died. What's the best to do Time Machine backups now?

Time Machine server is now built-in into macOS... it used to be part of macOS server but Apple recently moved it to standard macOS. Personally I have a Mac Mini being used as a Plex Server and now as a Time Machine server too.

Instructions on how to activate it:


Of course, the issue there being that you now need to buy a Mac Mini, which is:

1. Significantly more expensive.

2. Hasn't been updated in years.

You can backup to any network share---Windows, Linux, wherever. Just make a sparse disk image on the share, mount it, and set it as your Time Machine destination. Whenever you mount it in the future, Time Machine will do the right thing.

Reading this thread and filling some blanks from a bird eye view makes me realise how bleak the Mac ecosystem is slowly becoming.

I think Apple releases phenomenally great products and the industry follows in its wake, slowly saturating the market and maturing allowing Apple to shift its focus to the next under served user.

Yeah, but the new products don't have that Apple charm :(

> Apple releases phenomenally great products

No questions about that, as a matter of fact I just bought an iPad Pro, which is positively awesome on so many levels. The iOS ecosystem is thriving, but I'm talking about the Mac ecosystem, not Apple as a whole.

So sure Mac laptops are great†, yet:

- Mac Mini not updated in years

- Mac Mini with four cores killed years ago

- Mac Pro not updated in years, after not being updated in years

- iMac Pro entry price is far north of 5k€

- iMac are stuck with 8GB, spinning rust, or fusion drives, which means no APFS. "stuck" because RAM and SSD upgrade prices are completely insane, which makes you enter iMac Pro territory.

- MacBook Air neither killed nor updated in years (seriously, that screen? I'm not asking for Retina at that price point but it's just objectively awful by every metric right now)

- Airport team has been reassigned/fired months ago.

- Airport devices are being killed (which is not a surprise given previous point) which is a shame in itself given how awesome they are.

- This means no official support for networked Time Machine, short of using macOS Server by buying one of the above desktop machines.

- Xserve died long ago, which means having a proper CI is hell††, running on either antiquated or unfit (hence overpriced and overspecced for the task) hardware.

- macOS team has been folded into a more general team, with iOS largely taking the fair share of it[0].

- This show a lot, especially compared to things that exist in both, like the Mac App Store is a joke[0], and OS updates being unreliable.

At that point, and despite Tim Cook proud announcements that they love the Mac, when taking a step back and looking at the big picture, although individual devices are nice, it sure looks like that ecosystem has growing holes and is proceeding through inertia. I'm eagerly awaiting future developments regarding the desktop/headless side of things over the coming years. As a thought experiment, that makes for interesting times to picture Apple without a Macintosh ten years down the road!

> and the industry follows in its wake, slowly saturating the market and maturing allowing Apple to shift its focus to the next under served user.

Privacy, reliability, ease of maintenance, hardware spec consistency, I can't find an alternative right now, the closest being getting a Lenovo laptop and some Android phone, and loading them up with ArchLinux and LineageOS, but that's high maintenance and still falls short on some of my use cases.

† Although I'm holding back the upgrade of my early 2013 13" rMBP because the MB I need doesn't exist (13", function keys + CPU w/ dual fans and 4 USB-C of the TouchBar one). A 2k€ machine from 2018 would basically be a downgrade (or at best even out) from my 2013 one, which is, somehow, a testament to how awesome my current machine is.

†† Leading to either you make-doing with your own hardware, or paying terrible price for cloud offerings. Seriously, Apple should allow virtualisation outside its own hardware for CI purposes.

[0]: https://twitter.com/lloeki/status/968878578426437632

[1]: https://www.theverge.com/2016/12/21/14037686/apple-macbook-m...

You can still buy Airport devices until they run out of stock. Otherwise, there are plenty of other NAS devices that support time machine.

I use a Synology NAS for Time Machine backups.

I've tried with my Synology NAS but it never seems to stay connected.

Depends on the cause of death. While a bit tricky to get into, it is possible to replace the harddrive.

Set up your own NAS with OpenMediaVault and the Time Machine plugin!

Replaced ours with the Google WiFi and could not be happier.

I bought a google wifi and have nothing but problems. Because it doesn’t allow to change any of its more advanced settings, I have to use it behind another router just so that things like MTU are correct.

Speed also dropped by 50% if I only use the google wifi directly with my modem

I am currently talking to higher tier google wifi support to see if I can do anything about it

Now done several Google WiFi implementations and not had a single problem.

I am both my family and our street network admin. A condition now is for them to replace with Google WiFi as makes my life so easy.

Suspect you have an issue somewhere besides the GW. They are about as rock solid as you can get.

What is really cool if you admin multiple networks the app makes it super easy.

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