We first caught wind of this baby on Saturday, an AirPort Express based on 802.11n. This makes Apple's whole networking family N-capable, though this upgrade doesn't entirely solve the fact that AirTunes is not the best way to stream music in the home. Jump for press release.
Apple Introduces New AirPort Express With 802.11n
All AirPort Base Stations Now Run Fastest Wireless Standard
CUPERTINO, Calif., March 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple(R) today updated its AirPort Express(R) mobile base station with 802.11n to deliver up to five times the performance and twice the range of the previous model*. Priced at just $99, AirPort Express is the world's smallest 802.11n-based mobile base station. It can be plugged directly into the wall for wireless Internet connectivity and USB printing at home or easily brought on the road for wireless freedom wherever there is an Internet connection. AirPort Express features AirTunes(TM), which works seamlessly with iTunes(R) to give users a simple and inexpensive way to wirelessly stream iTunes music from a PC or Mac(R) to any room in the house.
"Apple is leading the way with a broad range of innovative 802.11n base stations for almost any wireless networking need," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "From the small and portable AirPort Express, to AirPort Extreme for workgroups of up to 50 users and the new Time Capsule for automated backups, Apple customers now have more great ways to extend their wireless networks with 802.11n."
AirPort Express features a single-piece, compact design weighing just 6.7 ounces, providing maximum portability. AirPort Express offers both PC and Mac users the ability to share a single DSL or cable broadband connection with up to 10 simultaneous users. Users can also share a printer wirelessly that is connected to the USB port. Apple's AirPort Utility software provides easy step-by-step instructions for setting up and configuring AirPort Express; and with its advanced security features, AirPort Express safeguards data on networked computers with support for Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2),
128-bit WEP encryption and a built-in firewall. Apple now includes 802.11n as standard in its entire line of AirPort base stations and Mac notebooks as well as iMac(R), Apple TV(R) and Time Capsule(TM).
AirPort Express includes a built-in combination digital and analogue audio connector allowing users to connect to a home stereo or powered speakers. iTunes automatically detects remote speakers and displays them in a simple pop-up list for the user to select. Once the remote speakers are selected, AirTunes wirelessly streams iTunes music from the computer to the AirPort Express base station. Multiple AirPort Express base stations can be set up around a home, each connected to a set of powered speakers for a whole-home music experience. AirPort Express can also extend the range of an existing AirPort Extreme(R) wireless network.
Pricing & Availability
AirPort Express is available immediately through the Apple Store(R) (http://www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers for a suggested retail price of $99 (US).
*AirPort Express is based on an IEEE 802.11n draft specification. Actual performance will vary based on range, connection rate, site conditions, size of network and other factors.