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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:22 AM   #1
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Airport Extreme Air Disk, and 801.11n Upgrades $4.99 [Update]




OReillynet.com notes that the quietly updated Airport Extreme Basestation incorporates a new feature called Airport Disk:New to AirPort Extreme, AirPort Disk turns almost any external USB hard drive into a shared drive. Simply connect the drive to the USB port on the back of your AirPort Extreme and voila all the documents, videos, photos, and other files on the drive instantly become available to anyone on the secure network, Mac and PC alike. Its perfect for backups, collaborative projects, and more.
The new Airport Extreme basestations support the faster 802.11n protocol which is now shipping with all new Macs. Unfortunately, existing Mac customers (with inactive 802.11n hardware) need to run a special installer that is only included with the new base stations to activate the "n" portion of their wireless hardware. Apple started quitely shipping a number of their recent Macs with inactive 802.11n hardware:
- iMac with Intel Core 2 Duo (except 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac)
- MacBook with Intel Core 2 Duo
- MacBook Pro with Intel Core 2 Duo
- Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme card option

iLounge offers an unsatisfying explanation for the reason that the installer is only being bundled with the new base stations:
Because of the [Sarbanes-Oxley Act], the company believes that if it sells a product, then later adds a feature to that product, it can be held liable for improper accounting if it recognizes revenue from the product at the time of sale, given that it hasnt finished delivering the product at that point.
Of interest, surrounding the release of the 802.11n basestation, we heard claims that Apple would eventually be offering the 802.11n installer for $4.99. At that time, the upgrade fee made little sense, but now appears to be due to the account issue described by iLounge.

Update: MacRumors has received confirmation that Apple will be releasing Airport Extreme 802.11n Enabler 1.0 for US $4.99 in February.

Article Link: Airport Extreme Air Disk, and 801.11n Upgrades $4.99 [Update]

Last edited by arn; Jan 15, 2007 at 09:42 AM.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:27 AM   #2
Cepe Indicum
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Always wanted this feature... thanks Apple!
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:33 AM   #3
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I wander what file systems are supported on the external disk, the linked document doesn't say. NFS+ and FAT32 I'd guess.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:33 AM   #4
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If I remeber correctly at least for a time, you could not install the mighty mouse driver except from the disk that came with it. I thought that was stupid, and I still think the same of this new capability for the unlocking of the 802.11n. I do not believe SOX has anything to do with it. SOX is about reporting and protecting financial data, not about marketing new features.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:34 AM   #5
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And what about poeple with MBPs at WWDC that saw the 5.8GHz AirPort ? Something else ? Or backwards compatibility of 802.11n with 802.11g ?
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:35 AM   #6
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i thought SOX was about full disclosure and providing internal controls to prevent insider trading and the like, and had nothing to do with enabling computer hardware with a software program...
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:35 AM   #7
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You missed the most important word: it's draft-n.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modrak View Post
And what about poeple with MBPs at WWDC that saw the 5.8GHz AirPort ? Something else ? Or backwards compatibility of 802.11n with 802.11g ?
Your question is not clear to me. Please elaborate.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:42 AM   #9
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Yeah, I'm not buying it either...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarbanes-Oxley_Act



Only the Core 2 Duo based machines an beyond have draft-n parts in them, correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Modrak View Post
And what about poeple with MBPs at WWDC that saw the 5.8GHz AirPort ? Something else ? Or backwards compatibility of 802.11n with 802.11g ?
5.8GHz is 802.11a...which was supposed to replace 802.11b because it had faster speeds. The problem was that it wasn't backwards compatible, so people created 802.11g instead, which has the same speed, but runs in the same band as 802.11b and is backwards compatible. One nice thing about it is there is less interference there at the moment since there are fewer devices competing for the spectrum (bluetooth, telephones, other access points, game controllers, etc.)

All the Intel based mac chipsets support 802.11a...not sure if it is actually enabled in the software though.

Last edited by AmbitiousLemon; Jan 15, 2007 at 10:21 AM. Reason: post merge
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:43 AM   #10
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That's a handy feature!! Much handier than that audio gateway thing on the old extremes. I would never use that. But this I can see myself using for sure!
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:45 AM   #11
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Sarbanes-Oxley has had a wide range of unintended consequenses. It needs to be killed.

Criminalizing CEO's
Exporting IPO's
General consumer product feature control punishment.

The main problem is it criminalized a bunch of stuff that was either already criminal under a different theory, but was not enforced, or was a civil matter.

Worst of all, it makes the chain of command criminally liable for acts underlings do entirely outside of their awareness and control.

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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:45 AM   #12
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It is strange that they can't give out the updater.. Its just an improvement upon an excisting technology.. It would be the same as having those Mac mini's that shipped with better specs, being elligal..
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:46 AM   #13
arn
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I updated the quote with the updated explanation from the article, if it makes a difference.

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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:46 AM   #14
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The way I understand it, this law prevents Apple from giving away the drivers for "unadvertised features" for free. Correct me if I'm wrong but I have 2 problems with this: 1) if Apple charged the $1600 or whatever for an iMac, not advertise any of its features, would we have to pay more to use these features? 2) Aren't we already paying for these "unadvertised features" when we buy the computer? We're already paying for the feature, but now we have to pay more to use it? Sounds a good way to screw the consumer.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:49 AM   #15
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It has got something to do with Apple writing of development costs in products. They are writing of the development and advertising costs for product A with features B. They cant later add features C and D to product A+B, since it'll change the cost of developing the products. This have stopped Apple from implementing stuff in their operating system and iPods too, stuff that could have been easily added through software updates.

I know for a fact that they have pushed the envelope here with some stuff in OSX 10.4 that they secretly bundled with security fixes.

They could offer the drivers as free downloads though. Like Boot Camp.
Edit: Boot Camp is a known feature of Intel Macs though.. sorry 'bout that.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:53 AM   #16
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Still Confused

STILL CONFUSED



Right, if i buy and Apple TV and the new Apple basestation can i plug my ext Lacie into the Basestation and access it via the Apple TV WITHOUT switching my PC on.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 09:56 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmcheese View Post
5.8GHz is 802.11a...which was supposed to replace 802.11b because it had faster speeds. The problem was that it wasn't backwards compatible, so people created 802.11g instead, which has the same speed, but runs in the same band as 802.11b and is backwards compatible. One nice thing about it is there is less interference there at the moment since there are fewer devices competing for the spectrum (bluetooth, telephones, other access points, game controllers, etc.)

All the Intel based mac chipsets support 802.11a...not sure if it is actually enabled in the software though.
doh, some macusers are incredibly ignorant. 11a was never intended to replace 11b - it was developed in parallel because the 2.4ghz band had problems with interference because of the massive amount of devices on that band. However, speed is on par with 11g as long as you stay relatively close to the ap. The higher frequency lowers the penetration power of 11a, and makes it unsuitable unless the AP is in line of sight
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:01 AM   #18
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The question is "when is Apple going to release an enabler for 802.11g?"

The draft-N Airport adapters in the Mac Pro and the iMac C2D are not able to work at anywhere near the performance levels of 802.11G

Isn't there a law against advertising something and not delivering it?

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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henriok View Post
It has got something to do with Apple writing of development costs in products. They are writing of the development and advertising costs for product A with features B. They cant later add features C and D to product A+B, since it'll change the cost of developing the products. This have stopped Apple from implementing stuff in their operating system and iPods too, stuff that could have been easily added through software updates.

I know for a fact that they have pushed the envelope here with some stuff in OSX 10.4 that they secretly bundled with security fixes.

They could offer the drivers as free downloads though. Like Boot Camp.
Edit: Boot Camp is a known feature of Intel Macs though.. sorry 'bout that.

This really doesn't make sense... otherwise why did they give free updates to Aperture? They've added features.... And didn't a couple of the new iPod features get applied to the previous generation?

SOX is a huge quagmire of positives and negatives but I doubt it has much bearing on this. They likely want to sell more airports....
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:06 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post
Isn't there a law against advertising something and not delivering it?
Probably, but they didn't advertise that the computers had 802.11n wireless adapters: they said 11g.

I too wonder when they will be available for download. I find it kind of annoying that I have this MacBook with the capability to handle 11n but have to stick with 11g until Apple allows everyone to have this software update.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:09 AM   #21
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I'd rather have it use Fire Wire since I have more of those.
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:15 AM   #22
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Firewire versus NAS

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigPrince View Post
I'd rather have it use Fire Wire since I have more of those.
For video editing, I have 11 external drives hooked up using 4 firewire cases. A few of the drives are specifically used for backing up my laptop, and I generally keep them turned off (so accidental/malicious data corruption is less likely to happen). It might be convienient to place my backup drive on the new Airport, allowing me to always have access to them even if my main iMac is powered down.

I'll be curious about the speed (USB 2.0 versus Firewire) over the network, and if it will support multiple drives and any type of Raid. If they build in smarts to allow the Airport Extreme to be a Network Attaches Storage device just by plugging up USB drives, that could be pretty useful. (Much like being able to hook up a printer, and be able to print any time without leaving a Mac powered up.)
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:19 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copland View Post
Probably, but they didn't advertise that the computers had 802.11n wireless adapters: they said 11g.
That's my point - they said g - but the current cards/drivers do not work at all well in an 802.11g environment. They desperately need an update.

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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:19 AM   #24
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It's been a few years since I had to deal with revrec rules, so take this stuff with a grain of salt:

For some types of products, GAAP demands that you recognize revenues after delivery of the product*. This gets wierd for software -- if I promise free support forever then I don't get to recognize revenues until forever.

* or spread over the life of it

On the other hand, if I promise free support for a year I can recognize at the end of the year. Similarly if I promise free support "until the next major release," etc. You see the impact of this in products like Symantec Antivirus, where the initial purchase and continuing signature subscription are seperate. "The first hit's free." -> "The first crash costs $59.95. Crashes after that are $29.95 per year."

Giving a free update of this sort could be seen as an delivery beyond the original (presumably already recognized) delivery, which could force Apple to restate earnings for all the secretly draft-n hardware they they already recognized revenue for. I think this is a bit of a stretch, though -- they make plenty of other updaters available for free, and presumably are able to account for all that (although in the case of OSX releases I'm assuming they have it set up for the year or two it takes to get out all the releases).

In any case, I'd be surprised if the 802.11n** support doesn't show up in Leopard. Draft-n hardware has been shipping for something like 9 months, and I imagine Apple doesn't want to be known as the company whose 802.11n hardware cannot work on existing 802.11n networks.

** or draft-n
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Old Jan 15, 2007, 10:23 AM   #25
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crap. no CD MBPs, right?
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