6th Generation Airport Extreme?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
Hey Guys,

Any idea when the 6th generation Airport Extreme will be released? I'm thinking of buying one but would appreciate anyone's input who understands the products life cycle.

Thanks, -Luvmax


Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
As mentioned, they have been inconsistent with life cycle, but the newest one just came out in June 2011 so I doubt a new one will appear real soon.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2012
thanks for the responses guys. I picked up a used 5th gen for $100 today.


macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2011
802.11ac (brilliant naming scheme that one... They're all over the place now with the letters, I swear, they must be paying some guy to come up with the most confusing labels possible) isn't ratified as a standard yet.

I'm not even sure if it's on the draft level yet; remember, .11n was available as draft for I can't even remember how many years now, it was a bunch for sure. So don't go get all upset now over upgrading only just now; there's no hurry yet. There's not a single .11ac product available for sale, and there won't be for at least 6 months likely and by then they'll be expensive and probably not the most stable either.

It's rarely a good idea to jump onto a wireless standard in the first generation of products, as they most likely won't be feature-complete or able to maximize the potential of the new standard. It took quite a while before .11n wifi products started supporting triple-stream transmissions for example and I'm sure something similar will happen with .11ac too.


macrumors member
Nov 17, 2011
It looks like Apple may release an 802.11ac pretty soon.

Apple has been known to release "draft" versions much sooner than other companies, they have done this with wi-fi and bluetooth as well.

I believe the perfect time to release the AC standard would be with an Apple TV, because who wants a TV that stutters due to wifi bandwidth? HDTV would require a lot of fast wireless transmission.

If an Apple TV will be released in Quarter 3 of this year, then expect new Time Capsules, Airport Extremes and Expresses by the end of the year.

I have a 4th generation Extreme Base Station and have been wanting to upgrade since the 5th generation came out last fall, but decided not to because a refresh should be coming within a year.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2007
I believe it will be absolutely essential for the next generation Airport Extreme (Sixth) to be out in 2013 especially prior to the March 2013 release of the new, new iPad 4. The New iPad 3 has been criticized for poorer WiFi reception as compared with the iPad 2 partially due to its larger battery partially blocking the WiFi. So Apple will absolutely need this by March 2013.

However, I can see the Sixth Generation Airport Extreme coming out now, however. Netgear came out with a Gigabyte WiFi unit R6300 and so did Buffalo. So Gigabyte routers are here already even though there are no devices out as of yet.

I believe we will see the next iMac next month come equipped with Gigabyte WiFi 802.11AC already.

In October 2012, the iPhone 5 will have the Fifth Generation Gigabyte WiFi 802.11AC on it I feel.

From what I have been reading, Apple has a history of using generations of WiFi years prior to their official ratification by the IEEE. So far, no equipment has been rendered useless because of this. It will be a relatively simple software or possibly firmware update to maintain the WiFi current when the standard is finally ratified. I just wonder what is taking the IEEE so long to ratify the standard? And why the IEEE has a history of waiting too long. After all, Apple had the Fifth Generation Airport Extreme out years prior to the IEEE finally ratifying the current Fifth Generation 802.11N!

Dr. Saponaro


macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2011
Hopefully not anytime soon. I just got the 5th Generation one a few weeks ago. :p
I know the feeling.

Fortunately, routers age much better than phones/tablets/PCs. It's not like they can't "run the latest games" or "support the latest software."

I do think that the next AEBS and Time Machine will be a smaller form factor.

Too bad I have to stare at my ugly Motorola modem every night…Apple isn't likely to make a modem.


macrumors 68040
Dec 30, 2009
and things like this makes me happy I have CAT6 run to multiple spots all over the house.
All of my desktops are wired and I don't do enough WiFi file transfers for it to matter, WiFi is just more of a convenience so I can sit on the couch and surf the net.

Also if I did want to upgrade the router, hopefully I could just get a 802.11ac internal card for the laptops.