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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:50 AM   #1
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Teardown of Apple's New AirPort Extreme Reveals Hard Drive Slot, but No Connectors




While iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks drew most of the attention at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, another one of Apple's introductions also generated a significant amount of discussion and controversy: redesigned AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule Wi-Fi base stations.

The new vertical designs take up considerably more volume than their predecessors, although footprints have been reduced to just 3.85 inches square. The new base stations include support for the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, and Apple has increased the number of antennas from three to six. The vertical design is intended to optimize range and signal strength by elevating the antennas, while also helping the base stations offer beamforming, which automatically finds 802.11ac devices and targets Wi-Fi signals toward those devices for optimum performance.

The teardown experts at iFixit have obtained one of the new AirPort Extreme units and have torn it apart to examine its internals. Given that the AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule have identical external designs, it should be no surprise that the AirPort Extreme contains space for a hard drive, although it appears that users will not be able to build their own Time Capsules by simply adding hard drives to their AirPort Extremes.
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We free the top cover, only to find...3.5? of empty space. While the AirPort Extreme doesn't come equipped with storage, we dug up a standard 3.5? SATA hard drive, just to test it out. Perfecto!...Except we can't find any connectors where we'd plug in the hard drive, only empty spaces on the logic board--so chances of DIY AirPort Extreme to Time Capsule upgrades are slim.
Looking further, iFixit found the usual array of chips on the logic board, and was also able to trace the antenna cable up through the center of the device to a large plate at the top which serves to distribute the Wi-Fi signals. And overall, iFixit gives the AirPort Extreme a repairability score of 8 out of 10, citing standard Torx screws, a relative lack of glue, and modular components as positives and slightly difficult prying to open, difficult fan access, and breakage-prone connectors as negatives.

Apple's new AirPort Extreme is priced at $199, while the AirPort Time Capsule base stations incorporating hard drives for wireless backup storage are priced at $299 for 2 TB and $399 for 3 TB.

Article Link: Teardown of Apple's New AirPort Extreme Reveals Hard Drive Slot, but No Connectors
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:52 AM   #2
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I still don't know what to make of the new design...
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:54 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jack97 View Post
I still don't know what to make of the new design...
Agreed.

I've got the current shape Extreme and it's classy, yet unobtrusive.

This design is perplexing.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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No USB 3.0, No sale...

http://www.netgear.com/home/products...R6250.aspx#two

The USB 2.0 bottleneck will mean the AirPort Extreme is pretty useless as a NAS.

Last edited by downpour; Jun 12, 2013 at 09:16 AM.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JaySoul View Post
Agreed.

I've got the current shape Extreme and it's classy, yet unobtrusive.

This design is perplexing.
Yep - whereas this design doesn't feel like it could be tucked away neatly - it actually feels bigger.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:00 AM   #6
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Probably because it's the same shell as the Time Capsule.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:00 AM   #7
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They really should have made a smaller profile design instead of wasting space with the Extreme version... I'm hoping there will be 3rd party connectors for sale later on that will let us add our own hard drives.

Also, seriously.... still only 3 ports? -_- that tower can easily fit 10 ports at least. Come on now.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:01 AM   #8
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Yea USB three is vitally important for printers and backup's while you sleep..
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lotzosushi View Post
They really should have made a smaller profile design instead of wasting space with the Extreme version..
They did. It's called an Airport Express.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:04 AM   #10
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Hate the design. Been looking forward to AC and beter range, but my next wireless will not be from apple. I want something thats wall mountable. the previous generations was with 3rd party mounts.

And only 3 ports on that thing... Come on.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:05 AM   #11
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They took a more function over design with this one. which i like.
you cant really slap 6 antennas in the current model and allow it to really make much difference, without being pointless and the signal not getting degraded anyway.


i love the ventilation on the AEBS and APTC.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:07 AM   #12
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Repairability score, or "can we sell parts/ make money off of this".
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:08 AM   #13
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I like it. 6 antennas, beamforming, 802.11ac, better wireless range... I think I'll pick one up!
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:11 AM   #14
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Jeez, people! Do you not READ? The tower design is to help with the antennas and the 802.11 AC performance. Stop whining and READ!
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:12 AM   #15
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The design makes sense as explained in the article. Taller and more antennas, perhaps those were issues that needed addressing based on the previous model consumer feedback and testing. It does have a smaller footprint and might look cool on your desk just like your Darth Vadar head coffee mug that holds all your pens and pencils.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMacintosh View Post
i love the ventilation on the AEBS and APTC.
I think Apple must have seen the light. The AppleTV 1 and 1st generation Time Capsule both had thermal problems for me. These new designs seem somewhat inspired by Seymour Cray's design philosophy.

"Cray frequently cited two important aspects to his design philosophy: remove heat, and ensure that all signals that are supposed to arrive somewhere at the same time do indeed arrive at the same time."

B
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downpour View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack97 View Post
Yep - whereas this design doesn't feel like it could be tucked away neatly - it actually feels bigger.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotzosushi View Post
They really should have made a smaller profile design instead of wasting space with the Extreme version... I'm hoping there will be 3rd party connectors for sale later on that will let us add our own hard drives.

Also, seriously.... still only 3 ports? -_- that tower can easily fit 10 ports at least. Come on now.
The focus is on wireless.

No USB 3.0 because USB 2.0 is faster than the bandwidth of a wireless connection anyway.

The profile is to provide better wireless range and performance.

And only three wired ports because that's a secondary, edge case for this device.

I don't understand the one USB port though. This thing should be a hub for your shared printer and time machine backup drives.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:15 AM   #18
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I bet I could fit a Raspberry Pi in there. Could make a nice little DIY NAS box.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaySoul View Post
Agreed.

I've got the current shape Extreme and it's classy, yet unobtrusive.

This design is perplexing.
And the current design cannot tip over... unless there are some weird gravitational issues where you live...

I really wish this is about functional needs, like new antennas for ac and what not. And not just a designer whim. I could accept that.

But it currently is a non-issue for me as I have no plans to change my 2010 MBP and TC for the foreseable future.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:17 AM   #20
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I bet I could fit a Raspberry Pi in there. Could make a nice little DIY NAS box.
Now this is a good idea! Love my Raspberry Pi
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:19 AM   #21
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Jeez, people! Do you not READ? The tower design is to help with the antennas and the 802.11 AC performance. Stop whining and READ!
That's fine but my current Extreme works flawlessly well in my house, and the design is better.

I don't need 6 antennas and ac right now, nor will I in the next 3-5 years probably.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:19 AM   #22
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No USB 3.0 because USB 2.0 is faster than the bandwidth of a wireless connection anyway.
No it isn't.

802.11ac is 1300Mbps

USB 2.0 is just 480Mbps (much less in reality)

Other manufactures are including USB 3.0 (5000Mbps) in their routers and charging less.

Last edited by downpour; Jun 12, 2013 at 09:26 AM.
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:19 AM   #23
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Definitely Pick one up once I have a device that supports ac. In the future, they should definitely include usb3 and more ports... even if it's mostly used for backup over wifi, why limit the speed to usb2. More ports would also be useful as well. For now, it has enough to fit my home setup so let's go iphone with ac!
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:20 AM   #24
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Probably the design is to match and be put next to the new Mac Pro?
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Old Jun 12, 2013, 09:21 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack97 View Post
Yep - whereas this design doesn't feel like it could be tucked away neatly - it actually feels bigger.
You can have a smaller device, or faster 802.11ac and faster 802.11n. Not both.
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