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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple may have considered including USB hard drive support in the AirPort Express initially released in June of 2012, according to an early support manual unearthed by French site Journal Du Lapin (via iPhone in Canada).

Available in PDF format, the older manual references a section suggesting a USB hard disk or USB hub could be connected to the AirPort Express, allowing all computers on the network to access those devices.

airport_express_2012.jpg
Connect a self-powered USB hard disk to your AirPort Express. All of the computers on the AirPort network can access the information on the hard disk.

Connect a USB hub to your AirPort Express, and then connect multiple USB devices, such as printers or hard disks. All of the computers on the AirPort network can access those devices.
These references are not found in the final product's manual [PDF], which only includes a section on connecting a USB printer to the device. USB hard disk compatibility would have potentially allowed the lower-cost AirPort Express to function in the same way as the more expensive AirPort Extreme, suggesting Apple possibly once considered merging these two products before making the decision to release the AirPort Express without external hard drive compatibility.

While Apple's AirPort Extreme retails for $199 and includes the ability to connect to a USB hard drive that can be accessed by all computers on the network for sharing and storing files, the AirPort Express, priced $100 less at $99, remains a no-frills entry level WiFi solution for consumers for the time being.

Article Link: Apple Tested USB Hard Disk Support for 2012 AirPort Express
 

tliede20

macrumors regular
Nov 19, 2013
168
51
Los Angeles, CA
I wish!

That'd be a great way to be able to network drives within homes as most consumers are looking to drop Airport Extreme prices! :mad:
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,052
930
Canada
That's a shame

Even with that functionality, the Airport Extreme is a cleaner, more integrated solution so most people would have bought the Extreme anyway.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,283
3,023
It would have also been nice for Apple to include Airplay and stereo audio output on the Extreme and Time Capsule.
 

Quu

macrumors 68040
Apr 2, 2007
3,128
5,743
I have one of these, great product. Would be wonderful if I could attach a USB hard disk to it for time machine backups!
 

arkmannj

macrumors 68000
Oct 1, 2003
1,649
416
UT
It would have also been nice for Apple to include Airplay and stereo audio output on the Extreme and Time Capsule.

Copy that...

I've also thought a combo AppleTV+Airport device would be useful. At least for the house I'm currently in, it turns out that my WiFi and AppleTV sit within a couple feet from each other.
 

Orlandoech

macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2011
3,341
886
Copy that...

I've also thought a combo AppleTV+Airport device would be useful. At least for the house I'm currently in, it turns out that my WiFi and AppleTV sit within a couple feet from each other.

Hey, I am in UT too, Murray/Cottonwood Heights. Where are you approx?
 

kolax

macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
9,181
115
Configured right, it might've given okay performance. I wouldn't expect anything great though, smaller antennas for one.
 

street.cory

macrumors 6502
Oct 13, 2009
379
167
It pisses me off that they crippled the Airport Express. I imagine a firmware update would allow network disk access from an Airport Express.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,283
3,023
totally agree but how would they sell Apple TV then? That's what I had to do to stream music. Oh well...

The Apple TV would still retain it's strength of being able to Airplay both audio and video. The Airport Express allows only audio because of just the 3.5mm stereo output which is nice when you have an available stereo system near it.

But I guess it's sort of getting insignificant now anyway since you can now get amplifiers and receivers with airplay built in.
 

coolfactor

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2002
5,188
5,636
Vancouver, BC
That'd be a great way to be able to network drives within homes as most consumers are looking to drop Airport Extreme prices! :mad:

How can you make a claim like "most consumers are looking to drop Airport Extreme prices", and be mad about it? Just because there are cheaper routers on the market doesn't mean that the Airport routers are equal on all fronts, but at a higher price. The hardware and software is generally superior to many third-party options, even from a pure integration with Macs and iOS devices standpoint.

Apple is a hardware company and needs to make money. The "bargain" they offer (and there is one!) is the longevity of their hardware and software. You get more than you paid for it, easy. If you want a cheaper router, get a cheaper router.

----------

It pisses me off that they crippled the Airport Express. I imagine a firmware update would allow network disk access from an Airport Express.

Crippled? That's a bold claim. You do realize that these devices are mini-computers, right? They do a lot of work beyond just routing your network traffic. The Airport Express is a tiny device, and to cram even more functionality and demands into it may have exceeded processing and heat thresholds beyond Apple's quality of standard. What if they decided to roll out that Network Disk feature to the Express and it performed poorly? How pissed would you be then?
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,052
930
Canada
Huh?

Functionally, the only thing the Extreme has is extra ethernet ports.

"USB hard disk compatibility would have potentially allowed the lower-cost AirPort Express to function in the same way as the more expensive AirPort Extreme."

But yeah, I was mixing up the Airport Express/Extreme with the Time Capsule.
 

TsMkLg068426

macrumors 65816
Mar 31, 2009
1,466
317
How about adding Airplay to Airport Extreme instead of making people double dip to get a Airport Express at the same would be the smartest move for Apple.
 

ABCDEF-Hex

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2013
371
76
NC
Strange story to surface now.

Unless it hints at some hybrid Apple TV/Airport Express combo. (Just kidding)
 

Nikiaf

macrumors regular
Mar 18, 2013
119
288
Bigger, more powerful antennas too.

I'm not sure if this is true. I have one of each at home and was looking to swap them to improve signal strength where it's needed, but from what I was able to gather from the Internet, the output signal strength is identical between the two.
 

lolkthxbai

macrumors 65816
May 7, 2011
1,400
472
Huh?

Functionally, the only thing the Extreme has is extra ethernet ports.

And 802.11ac w/BeamForming tech plus USB HDD Access, which is what the article is all about...

----------

I'm not sure if this is true. I have one of each at home and was looking to swap them to improve signal strength where it's needed, but from what I was able to gather from the Internet, the output signal strength is identical between the two.

No it's not. You have to use 802.11ac ready equipment to see the BeamForming tech advantage.
 

TheDoctor1010

macrumors newbie
May 27, 2014
12
0
Northern Illinois
Copy that...

I've also thought a combo AppleTV+Airport device would be useful. At least for the house I'm currently in, it turns out that my WiFi and AppleTV sit within a couple feet from each other.

Wouldn't that be a welcoming product! How about a Time Capsule with ATV built in?

----------

The Apple TV would still retain it's strength of being able to Airplay both audio and video. The Airport Express allows only audio because of just the 3.5mm stereo output which is nice when you have an available stereo system near it.

But I guess it's sort of getting insignificant now anyway since you can now get amplifiers and receivers with airplay built in.

True.
 
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