Teardown of Apple's New AirPort Extreme Reveals Hard Drive Slot, but No Connectors

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors regular


    Nov 30, 2010
    I still don't know what to make of the new design...
  3. macrumors 68000


    Jan 30, 2008

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

    This design is perplexing.
  4. downpour, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2009
  5. macrumors regular


    Nov 30, 2010
    Yep - whereas this design doesn't feel like it could be tucked away neatly - it actually feels bigger. :(
  6. macrumors 68040


    Dec 16, 2011
    Probably because it's the same shell as the Time Capsule.
  7. macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2007
    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.
  8. macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Yea USB three is vitally important for printers and backup's while you sleep..
  9. macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2012
    They did. It's called an Airport Express.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2008
    Oslo, Norway
    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.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 13, 2008
    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.
  12. macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2011
    San Francisco, California
    Repairability score, or "can we sell parts/ make money off of this".
  13. macrumors 68020


    Sep 22, 2009
    I like it. 6 antennas, beamforming, 802.11ac, better wireless range... I think I'll pick one up!
  14. macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2008
    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!
  15. macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2002
    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.
  16. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    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."

  17. macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    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.
  18. macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    I bet I could fit a Raspberry Pi in there. Could make a nice little DIY NAS box.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2006
    Where I live
    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.
  20. macrumors 603


    Jan 20, 2010
    Now this is a good idea! :) Love my Raspberry Pi
  21. macrumors 68000


    Jan 30, 2008
    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.
  22. downpour, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2009
    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.
  23. macrumors member


    Mar 2, 2007
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    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!
  24. macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2008
    Probably the design is to match and be put next to the new Mac Pro?
  25. macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    You can have a smaller device, or faster 802.11ac and faster 802.11n. Not both.

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