Apple Ceases Development of 'AirPort' Wireless Routers as Engineers Reassigned to Other Products

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. jblagden, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017

    jblagden macrumors 6502a

    jblagden

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    #1251
    Exactly! As Apple dismantles its ecosystem, the more it fragments its user base. By ending product lines, they're forcing people to look outside the Apple ecosystem for more and more devices. The more Apple customers look outside the Apple ecosystem, the more likely they are to leave it. While other vendors might not deliver the same overall experience, and especially Mac OS, they provide a lot more options. For example, some folks want Ethernet built into their laptops, some want upgradable RAM and storage, some want more power, and others want Nvidia GPUs, and so on.

    Even though things like Apple TVs and Time Capsules might not be particularly profitable, they keep people in the ecosystem, or at least make it easier to be in it. Consequently, if Apple has a great ecosystem, people will stay in it; if they don't have a great ecosystem, people might leave. If people stay in the ecosystem, they'll keep buying the more profitable products: iOS devices.
     
  2. jujufreeze macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    #1252
    My dad loved the simplicity of the airport wireless router and when his was no longer functional, he switched to a Google OnHub, just got Google Home and is investing more in a non-Apple ecosystem since Apple apparently doesn't want his money.
     
  3. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #1253
    IIRC, with most publicly traded companies, the CEO gets his/her marching orders (i.e. focus) from the Board of Directors (who have the ability to replace the CEO, at their discretion).
     
  4. jblagden macrumors 6502a

    jblagden

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    #1254
    Given that the degradation of hardware and software occurred after the CEO change, we can only assume that might not be the case with Apple.
     
  5. Klaatu63 macrumors regular

    Klaatu63

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1255
    Long in the tooth yes but I have yet to experience the overall reliability of the Airport product. I have two Extremes two Expresses in two locations and they have never failed, never required a power off reset. Anyone can manufacture a device that occasionally works, but what I am looking for is reliability over the long haul. I never experienced that in the old Microsoft Linksys days. I will buy a couple of Extreme and Expresses and run them till they drop.
     
  6. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #1256
    I think the ecosystem is extremely important, but I don't think every device has an equal affect on the ecosystem.

    Apple has never been all things to all people. For example, Apple doesn't make a TV, but Samsung does. Does that mean that a material amount of people are leaving the iPhone for the Note because Apple doesn't compete in this arena? I have an Echo Dot, which is an area that Apple currently doesn't compete, but it does not make me want to use an Amazon Fire Phone over an iPhone.

    In other words, while every Apple device does add to their ecosystem, I don't buy the idea that people that start looking at third party routers are all of the sudden going to look at iPhone competitors. The ecosystem that matters is iOS, MacOS, and software that makes them work in tandem (messages, photos...ie Continuity, Handoff, etc.). When I updated from my Airport Extreme router to something better or when I started using Airplay in my receiver, rather than my Airport Express, it did not make me look at Windows, Linux, Android, etc...any more than looking at a Samsung Fridge made me want to buy a Samsung phone.

    I do think that their shortfalls in producing updated Macs is a bigger hit to the overall ecosystem...but I think the number of people that would give up on Mac or iOS because of a router upgrade are few and far between.
     
  7. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #1257
    True. Just sucks that Apple is neglecting their original users; moving away from the ethos that sent them on this trajectory - product and consumers first. Just seems so... greedy now.
     
  8. Uofmtiger, Mar 14, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017

    Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Memphis
    #1258
    Well, there is a cost/benefit analysis that every company does. Companies that made wheels for carriages moved on when the automobile became popular and started making wheels for cars rather than spending resources on a shrinking buggy market. The buggy whip makers that did not adapt are folklore at this point to describe a business that did not move to where the clients where, but rather served their original dying market and ended up going away. In other words, a smart (large) company will go where they think the money is and will be...and in turn serve a larger percentage of the market.

    The Airport devices probably aren't a big problem for Apple to continue to design and make. However, what they have (apparently) decided to do is move the staff that was working on these devices to the AppleTV category. Maybe they have something in the works that would use a technology similar to Airplay in a device they think will sell better than the Airport devices and carve out a new niche in a growing market....I think they will eventually have an Echo competitor and maybe that is what they are working on.

    My personal feeling, since I don't work for Apple, is that they are abandoning areas that they think other products can fulfill the need as well (or close to as well) as their products. When Airport Express came to market, there wasn't an AppleTV or any third party devices that could handle Airplay ("Airtunes"). There are now numerous third parties that can handle Airplay now. Also, it was unique because it had USB for printing, so you could place your printer out of the way. Wifi printers solved that issue for most people. The Airport Extreme can't compete with the new mesh routers for the amount of coverage they supply. It is just a market that has been growing and getting much better and Apple's share of that market has shrunk. Also, Apple may not see a niche they can carve out that would make them enough money to continue to put their resources into it.

    As I said, the Mac market is different. No one else makes Macs and they still sell a lot of them. They obviously believe mobility is more important than desktop Macs. I don't disagree, but I do think they should at least give the market incremental updates rather than selling expensive several year old computers on their website. That being said, I don't think everything Apple makes or has made should be conflated with their out-of-date Macs...which is what is done much too often on this forum. IMHO

    If they get rid of the Airport Express or Airport Extreme, I don't really consider it a major issue.
     
  9. jujufreeze macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    #1259
    It's a collateral effect- if someone looks to Apple as their go-to source for tech needs and finds they're leaving behind their routers, their imacs, their display business to plasticy LG chunks, and less than innovative new macbooks (with new ipads and wristbands!) the impetus dwindles to invest in the Apple ecosystem
     
  10. Uofmtiger, Mar 14, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017

    Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
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    #1260
    Apple doesn't make a lot of the tech in the market, so they have never been the "go-to" source for all my tech needs. As I mentioned above, I have receivers, game playing devices (PS3/Wii/Xbox), TVs, Echo devices, NAS, Microphones, DACs, Headphone Amps, Powered Speakers, BlueRay Players, etc.. that Apple didn't make and it has zero collateral affect on whether I buy an iPhone/iPad/Mac.

    As I mentioned already, I have a Samsung TV (2 of them to be precise). Apple is not in this market and it does not make me want to switch to a Samsung phone. I would be surprised if anyone left Apple because they bought a router from another manufacturer. If you have some data backing up your point that router decisions affect the phone/tablet/computer you buy, I would like to see it.

    Conflating routers (the actual subject of the thread) with Macs is a YUGE stretch. As far as "wristbands", by your "collateral effect" points, Apple should be in that market for the sake of the ecosystem. You can't have people perusing Amazon for a band and have them find out that Samsung makes watchbands, too. They may end up selling off their entire Apple ecosystem and moving to Samsung because of it.
     
  11. jujufreeze macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    #1261
    Obviously it's not exclusive to the no-router update driving people away. But in my dad's case, after getting a Google OnHub he got a Google Home, and I have an inkling Apple wants to compete with Echo/Google Home in the near future. And Apple, believe it or not was his go-to source for most of his tech needs, like apple tv, imac, apple display, macbook, router, phone, ipad. Now he's thinking of replacing his 2nd gen. apple tv with a different brand of streaming device too. The lack of router-updates is like the cherry on top of Apple disappointments lately.
     
  12. LordVic macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Location:
    Ontario
    #1262
    This is not promising.

    There was a time when you could go into an apple store, buy everyuthing you needed to get up and running, from network, to computer, to peripherals.

    slowly, for some reason, Tim Cook is pulling those peripherals away. or making them far less attractive by either price icnreases or weird design decisions (The mouse?)

    but removing the wireless hub from their product library now means that Apple has one less thing to offer their customers to make their setup "just work".

    what ever happened to the Apple where things "just worked"
     
  13. Uofmtiger, Mar 14, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017

    Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #1263
    I suspect that neither of these purchases would push him away from iOS/MacOS since they are completely unrelated and Google services work fine with iOS/MacOS.

    As a side note, I had a Google OnHub for a year and recommended it often. In the last 3 months, it started just shutting off on its own. It ended up completely dying and I replaced it with Netgear Orbi. That doesn't even have anything to do with the snafu they just had that reset OnHub routers. If anything, this is the kind of thing that hurts the brand.

    https://www.extremetech.com/electro...resets-onhub-google-wifi-routers-server-error

    I think Apple should make an Echo device, but that has little to do with routers. Apple doesn't make everything. As I said, I have an Echo Dot and would love Apple to make one, but it doesn't make me want a Fire Phone.

    Apple still sells their current routers. However, I wouldn't be surprised that if/when they no longer have them, they will have a third party option available in the store.
     
  14. jblagden macrumors 6502a

    jblagden

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2013
    #1264
    I'm not saying each device has an equal effect. I'm just saying that as a whole, the ecosystem keeps people in it, and each devices contributes to that in varying degrees. Each device makes working with Apple stuff a little easier or a little nicer. It's kind of like how "luxury" could be defined as a collection of niceties.

    Airport routers are easier to set up than routers from other companies. Time Capsules provide easy-to-setup and automatic backups - something practically unrivaled in the computing industry. The Magic Mouse is a very nice mouse for those of us who still want one - it's very smooth, scrolls in all directions, uses Bluetooth (no dongle), and it supports gestures. The Magic Keyboard is a very nice Bluetooth keyboard, with scissor switches instead of dome switches - again, Bluetooth (no dongles), which is great for laptop users. The Apple monitors were nice for people who wanted a monitor which would match their Mac - and had $1,000 burning a hole in their pocket. Apple TV is a great streaming box, especially if you have spent a lot on iTunes over the years, and now it even has an App Store - and it works great with iOS devices; a great accessory for Apple's biggest money makers (iOS devices). The Apple Watch is great for displaying information, making calls, and displaying notifications - a great iPhone accessory. iTunes allows you to buy DRM-laden videos to watch on your iOS devices and Macs - the DRM keeping you in the Apple ecosystem (unless you run Windows).

    Each part of the ecosystem contributes in its own way, and to varying degrees.
     
  15. Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #1265
    Yes, but those degrees can be miniscule and not worth the time and effort that could be put toward something that is better for their overall line-up. For example, if they felt an Echo device that would be built into the AppleTV was more important than Airport Express devices to the ecosystem (and bottom line), then they may pull people from the Airport Express area to work on it.

    I think Apple's biggest problem right now is their inability to attract enough talent to devote to everything they would want to do. It appears to me that they have just been rationing a scrap here and there for areas outside iOS.

    Personally, I would rather have those leftover scraps go into making updated Macs or an Echo-like device rather than routers. I say that from a user perspective and if I was on the board at Apple, I would say the same thing.

    It is perplexing that Apple, with their unlimited resources, have problems updating the Mac Mini or Pro on a timely basis. But the proof is out there for anyone to see. If they can't even do the basics, it makes a lot of sense to shut down the areas that won't run very many people out of the ecosystem if they are discontinued.

    I have heard discussions that Apple's resource issues are more about management structure than anything else. Many areas in hardware end up reporting to the same people (which makes it easier to integrate continuity/hand off features). This means that people are going to be pulled from the less profitable areas and put in the more profitable areas if they are needed. It is like having a boat with a huge hole in one side and a tiny hole in the other. They are going to pull all resources to fixing the bigger hole. The iPhone + iPad make up 75 percent of Apple's Profits. The Mac is 9.25 percent. The other (non-service) stuff as a whole is about 5 percent and my guess is that a large part of that leftover slice is the Apple Watch which is simply an iOS (iPhone) accessory.

    When you look at the numbers, and Apple's slow updates outside of iOS, it is pretty easy to figure out why they would sacrifice routers.
     
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #1266
    Go look at LG, Samsung and many other companies and you will see they are far more diversified than Apple. This is not a matter of which part is the biggest market item but how they attempt to cut through competition. They simply elected to get out of certain areas and in turn that leaves LOTS of customers and Mac fans very unhappy. Apple could take their Router, stuff in an ARM processor along with a tiny linux like OS with some programinng plus Siri and that crap would sell quite nicely. It could not only talk to you and be router but actually engage some of your network hardware and do things for you. "Siri go back up Joe's Macbook" and so on and on. There are so many easy variation on a theme that Apple could have done but simply chose not to do so. As for talent and brains, that is not the issue at Apple, it is the non-business side as having issue with remaining as "APPLE" instead, as many are learning, "JUST ANOTHER COMPANY."
     
  17. Uofmtiger, Mar 16, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017

    Uofmtiger macrumors 68000

    Uofmtiger

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Memphis
    #1267
    I think it has more to do with their management structure than anything else. Most large companies are segmented so that they aren't constantly pulling resources from one area into another. I am not arguing that I like Apple's structure. I am simply explaining why they would get out of an area that is completely immaterial to their financial statements.

    Apple will never be Samsung. We used to have a term for some sales reps called "Whale Fisherman". They would have one or two huge clients that they would try to ride into the sunset. When those clients started to dry up, if they did not take their bags of cash and retire, they would start concentrating on catching another whale, but they put most of their efforts into the Whale(s) they already caught to keep them from drying up.

    We also had reps that would get a ton of nickel and dime clients and have them try to make enough from each to compete in the same arena. It is a different philosophy and Apple has the biggest Whale in history while Samsung has a school of small fish. In my business, the Whale Fisherman always made more money than those with the large portfolios of small clients until the Whale died. However, we can see that Apple is putting every resource into keeping their Whale healthy and it has paid off in a way that we have never seen in the tech industry, so it is hard to argue with that approach. When or if iOS dies, Apple will also have huge bags of cash to put into catching another Whale.

    Anyway, my argument wasn't for Apple's structure. I personally find it frustrating that they can't update their Macs at a faster pace. My point was that the vast majority of Apple users are not going to flee from iOS because they no longer make routers. End of story. If you think they will, then we simply disagree on that point.
     
  18. McGiord macrumors 601

    McGiord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    Dark Castle
    #1268
    About every 3 years ISP update their service offers including faster connections for "affordable" service. Apple shouldn't abandon this product line.
    They should add more functionality, more security, increase capabilities, security, signal strength, etc.
    The AirPort Extreme AC was introduced in 2013, and caps at 1.3Gbps. Faster services are coming and they should stay in the game.
    My hope is that the team of experts are used for something else for a specific project, and their results will then later be used to release an upgraded AirPort Extreme that supports faster connections.
     

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