updated 03:05 pm EDT, Fri June 3, 2011
New AirPort routers may share iOS foundations
An off-hand tip in a report late Thursday hinted that Apple's upcoming Time Capsules would borrow a cue from the current Apple TV. One source said that the new router, and possibly regular AirPort devices, would use either an A4 or an A5 chip and a heavily modified iOS foundation. The Ars Technica contact made no mention as to why, but it's presumed the backup option would require more computing power.
The choice of processors would likely be an attempt to get more control of the software to expand it beyond basic networking. They may also help with speed and handling multiple simultaneous clients. A modern smartphone like an iPhone 4 or a Samsung Droid Charge can handle as many as eight live, simultaneous clients; earlier routers could often negotiate 255 clients, though this was often more theoretical than real.
What expansion changes would occur, if any, weren't explained. USB and audio out are still options, and the new approach might help simplify AirPlay.
Any revamps could come as soon as the WWDC keynote on June 6. Many stores are now running out of stock of existing models and would have little choice but to wait for new models if the product line continues.