In a move that has been expected for nearly two years now, Apple is finally officially killing off its line of AirPort wireless routers, according to a report from 9to5Mac.
“We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products,” Apple told the publication. “They will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers while supplies last.”
While there doesn’t appear to be a reason Apple chose yesterday to break the news of the end of AirPort, the decision was all but inevitable. Bloomberg reported in 2016 that Apple was shuttering its router division following a decline in sales.
The official word from Cupertino means that there are three new plots in Apple’s device cemetery. Filling those holes in the ground will be the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule. First released in 2003, Apple hadn’t offered a refresh to the line of routers since 2013.
You’re free to grab one of the devices while you still can, but there’s no real additional incentive to do so. Apple isn’t offering a discount on any of the hardware (though third-party sellers might), so you’ll still have to pay full price for the routers.
The AirPort Express retails for $149, the AirPort Extreme goes for $299, the 2TB model of the AirPort Time Capsule costs $419, and the 3TB version runs $569. While the devices sport a couple of nice features and were known for being easy to set up and use, they are pretty dated technology at this point.
The line of routers are now considered vintage by Apple’s standards – a term the company uses to describe products that haven’t been manufactured for more than five years – but the company intends to continue to provide some support for the devices. According to Engadget, Apple said it will offer security patches and bug fixes for the foreseeable future.
For everyone else, Apple plans to release a range of AirPort alternatives in the near future. The company has already started to sell some third-party routers through its online store and retail outlets.
For now, the company has released a list of features that it recommends for Apple users. Apple suggests picking up a router with support for IEEE 802.11ac wireless standard, simultaneous dual-band, WPA2 Personal (AES) encryption for security, and MIMO or MU-MIMO technology to allow the router to better communicate with multiple devices.
While AirPort may be dead, Apple reportedly isn’t entirely ruling out a return to the router game. Engadget said a spokesperson for Apple said the company may revisit the product line if it can “make a meaningful contribution to the space”.