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Apple quietly refreshed the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule base stations earlier this summer, and a new report claims they’ll soon cap off the move with an update to the 802.11n model of the AirPort Express, presumably ahead of this fall’s launch of the iCloud service.
AppleInsider is reporting that supplies of Apple’s portable AirPort Express base station are constrained, with Amazon estimating stock available in “two to five weeks” while DataVision reports the first-generation 802.11n model of the Wi-Fi router bearing the MB321LL/A model number has been discontinued.
What could it all mean? Signs point to a second-generation refresh of the device, particularly since a source claims Apple is putting the wraps on an AirPort Utility 5.6 update which specifically mentions it in the release notes.
"Adds support for the AirPort Express 802.11n (2nd Generation) base station,” the AirPort Utility 5.6 release notes read, which seems to squash any doubt that Cupertino will soon refresh the device.
Although this year’s refresh of the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule base stations were slipped quietly into the store back in June with no obvious difference, an FCC filing soon revealed that the slim white boxes had actually gained a not insignificant power boost resulting in “dramatic performance and reliability improvements” when tested in the real world.
It’s too early to tell if the pocketable AirPort Express will get a similar 2.8x power boost over the original, which finally gained 802.11n with the first generation released in March, 2008.
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