Apple abandoning development of wireless routers – report

Last month Apple announced it was formally bidding adeiu to the standalone display business and outsourcing it to partners like LG. Now, according to a new report from Bloomberg, its AirPort routers might be following the same path. 

Apple is still selling its range of wifi routers, but according to people in the know, the company has reassigned the engineers to other projects such as the Apple TV.

The writing has been on the wall for Apple’s routers for some time, having not seen any updates for the past couple of years. The AirPort Extreme was one of the first routers to feature 1.3Gbps 802.11ac but it – along with the hard drive-equipped Time Capsule – hasn’t been shown much love from the designers in Cupertino since being released in 2013 and still is priced at the original asking RRP of £159 (£239 for the Time Capsule).

Similarly, the £79 AirPort Express is equipped with a measly 300Mbps 802.11n wifi and 100Mbps wired ethernet and has been gathering dust since 2012.

The AirPort has historically lagged behind companies such as D-Link, Netgear and Belkin which have been quick to adopt new standards. 

While Apple’s routers have always been a bit overpriced for what they are, they were designed to better work with Mac and iOS devices. With settings and setup software built into its devices, Apple made the AirPort a more interesting proposition for owners of its core devices and as a result it has seen a steady flow of sales.

However, the routers come under Apple’s ‘other products’ category on its financial statement and only make up a small slice of revenue. The category, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV generated $11.1 billion in the 2016 fiscal year – about 5 per cent of total sales. 

This move could free up space in the crowded router marketplace and free up resources for Apple to focus development on other areas.

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