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Is the new Airport Express an iOS device? (infincia.com)
17 points by mrsteveman1 on June 15, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments



Whatever it is, it's worse.

The new one requires a power cable. The point of the express was that it's entirely self contained. You could throw it in your bag and take it with you on trips. Now you can't.

So it's just a crippled airport extreme.


> The new one requires a power cable. The point of the express was that it's entirely self contained. You could throw it in your bag and take it with you on trips. Now you can't.

To be precise, they both required external power. The old model was integrated with the plug, and bore a design similar to Apple's laptop chargers.

The new model now requires a separate cable, but the power supply is still internal.

FWIW, the new unit is actually nice when you have to deal with those pesky power sockets at ground level (on skirting boards) that don't provide enough ground clearance to mount the old Airport Express/other chargers without an extension cable.


FWIW, the new unit is actually nice when you have to deal with those pesky power sockets at ground level (on skirting boards) that don't provide enough ground clearance to mount the old Airport Express/other chargers without an extension cable.

Like Apple's laptop chargers, the old Airport Express supported swappable outlet adapters which would let you plug it in with a longer wire, as well.


I think this is a better design than the old one. The old one was nice if you were traveling, but really, how many people did that?

This one fits much nicer in a cupboard next to your AppleTV, and won't take up 2 or 3 sockets in an extension cord. It also makes the wiring easier, since you don't have to make sure your optical audio cable and ethernet cable can actually reach the power sockets.


Well, it does have AirPlay.


Original AirPort Express also does.

Although I wish they could retain the old design, the extra LAN port and no more artificial 5 clients limit is more than welcome.


10 clients limit, apparently. Thanks for mentioning this - I have had my AE for a long time and never knew.


The old one did too


This is pure uninformed speculation. Does the A5 even have PCIe or Ethernet?


All of the things the Airport Express needs to do are already being done by the Apple TV, so the capability is there.

The only sticking point is perhaps that 2nd ethernet port, the Apple TV with the A4/A5 seem to use a separate ethernet chip made by SMSC connected to the processor via USB. As far as I know they don't support ethernet internally but they may not need to either.


That would explain why the Ethernet ports are still 100mbit.


Just nmap it? The OS fingerprinting will tell you.


I got the device this morning, this is what Nmap says:

    Device type: general purpose
    Running: Apple NetBSD 4.X
    OS details: Apple AirPort Extreme WAP or Time Capsule NAS device (NetBSD 4.99)
I was not aware the Extreme and Time Capsule actually run NetBSD (interesting as well), I assumed they were running the same basic platform the older Express does:

    Running: Wind River VxWorks
    OS details: VxWorks
So there's a change here for sure, it's obvious this new device is more capable but may still be running NetBSD. The Verge ran a story[1] a while back suggesting they were porting Darwin to run on these things for the purpose of replacing NetBsd, which is interesting.

[1] http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/7/2782694/theres-no-secret-pr...


This post is simple blind conjecture based on the shape of the case. Apple might have moved to iOS or might not. The Darwin core does support network routing, but they wouldn't be able to market it as an iOS device without paying a hefty chunk of cash to Cisco (who own the IOS trademark, licenced by Apple).

I really dislike reading articles like this on HN. It's upvoted because it looks like something new at first glance but has absolutely no data points and is idle speculation. When someone confirms whether or not it is an iOS device I'm interested, but until then, forget it.


It's a curious observation, the shape of the case is the tipoff but it makes sense if for no other reason than for the one listed in the article, Apple wants to be using ARM+iOS wherever possible.

Apple TV isn't marketed as an iOS device either, they go out of their way to call the firmware "Apple TV Software Updates". At one point the version numbers on the firmware were even different than the iOS version they were built on, it only matters internally.

An Apple TV with one more ethernet port would not only look almost identical, but it would be almost functionally identical as well to the point that an Apple TV could do the Aiport's job with the right software loaded.

They're also the same price already, we know they can sell this sort of hardware for $99 if they want to, and it would probably be even cheaper as it wouldn't need as much RAM, as much flash, a GPU or an HDMI port at all, nor would it need the infrared remote receiver.


He guesses it is iOS because the case is the same shape?


Case is the clue but yes its literally the same case.

They're now so similar in capability and form that Apple could probably save quite a bit of resources building them as different variations of the same common platform vs the old custom Airport platform that shares nothing in common.

They're already making a ton of the hardware necessary and it's already $99, margins are probably even higher here without the GPU and with a smaller amount of ram.


Well it's a pretty good guess IMO. It's so small that it makes sense.


That is inane. How does the size matter to the OS?

I have a portable router that is radically smaller and lighter than an appletv. It doesn't run iOS...


> Why would Apple build an iOS router?

Sounds like a walking trademark lawsuit. IOS being a networking operating system and all.


They don't have to call it iOS.


Indeed, they aren't calling the Apple TV firmware iOS either, it's just "Apple TV Software Update" wherever mentioned, as it's only relevant to Apple.


Sorry, I don't understand. Apple own the iOS trademark


I'm not sure how they've worked it out, but Cisco has a registered trademark for IOS, which is their operating system for network equipment: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6537/products_ios_sub_...


They use it under licence from Cisco. See: http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html

    IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.




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