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Next AirPort devices may use A4 or A5, iOS roots

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. ZinkDifferent

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005


    Primary reason...

    ... Is to use more Apple proprietary chips, realize better economies of scale (more A5 being used, better prices overall, use less expensive components and increase functionality.

    Not rocket science.

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011



    Maybe they could start improving Airport by adding some fundamental router features like QoS.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    No more "Airport"

    Forget about the name "Airport". In recent builds of Lion, there's no mention of that word anymore - it's all "Wi-Fi" from now on, right down to the "Network" control panel. I guess Apple finally noticed that switchers are completely flummoxed by that "Airport" moniker and didn't have a clue where to find their Wi-Fi settings.

  1. ggirton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    whatever it is ...

    ... it's gonna be pretty doggone cool.

  1. Salty

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Jul 2005


    My guess is

    My guess is AirPort will still be kept on as the name for their peripherals. So AirPort will now be the name for hardware that creates WiFi networks.

    That said, this sounds great. I've been tempted to replace my aging AirPort Express (802.11g model) since more and more it tends to stutter for AirPlay and stop allowing my laptop to reconnect after being gone from the apartment for a few hours. It'd be awesome if they added a model that could do AirPlay audio for movies while still leaving the video on the screen. (Also be great if they added this to the QT framework in general so apps like VLC and NicePlayer could use it.)

    Would also be really nice if they added the ability to connect an external drive to the AirPort Express and have it work as a Network Drive like they do for the AirPort Extreme base stations.

  1. PRoth

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008



    From what I've read about the Airport, is that it was prone (and maybe still is?) to overheating. Maybe part of the reason Apple is considering switching to iOS and A4 or A5 is to reduce heat generated, reduce the footprint AND increase functionality. Apple doesn't usually decide whether it will or won't do something for one sole reason...

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011



    I had an Airport and it was a really awful product. Yes, you plug it in and it "just works," but it doesn't do very much. Then of course Apple intentionally cripples it and had falsely advertised for a while that you could do time machine backups with it which turned out not to be the case.

    Another thing that sucks about Airport is that it doesn't do a very good job when multiple people are connected. Instead of properly sharing the bandwidth, one person can be downloading a file while the other person's connection slows to a crawl. Never had this problem on a decent router.

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