Apple grounds AirPort once and for all. It has departed. Not gonna fly any more. The baggage is dropped off...
Terminal. It's outta runway. We're winging it with these puns
Apple is officially getting out of the home networking business.
The Cupertino phone flinger has confirmed it is phasing out the AirPort, its wireless router line unveiled in 1999. The current stock will be allowed to run out, and new models are not planned for the foreseeable future.
"We’re discontinuing the Apple AirPort base station products," Apple said in a statement to The Register.
"They will be available through Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last."
The shutdown isn't a huge surprise, given Apple's shift toward mobile and the ubiquity of low-cost home wireless routers. The last major update to the line was in 2013 when new models were rolled out alongside the MacBook Air.
When the first AirPort models emerged at the end of the previous millennium, wireless networking was still a novel concept to most consumers – Wi-Fi itself had only come out two years earlier – and home routers were a fairly new concept to many users users who, up to that point, mostly relied on a single desktop PC connected to the internet via dial-up.
The AirPort was offered alongside the iMac and Apple's new iBook as a way to not only introduce a second computer to your household, but share an internet connection with more than one machine. The AirPort "base station", complete with its own 56k dial-up modem, was also pitched to schools as way to link up multiple iBooks in a classroom.
As the 21st century rolled over and notebooks overtook PCs, Wi-Fi-capable routers become increasingly common, and were in many cases offered by ISPs as a bundle with their modem gateway and internet service.
At the same time, Apple saw its focus shift from desktop and notebook computers to the mobile space as the iPhone and iPad took the Cupertino idiot-tax operation into entirely new markets and the company's priorities shifted away from things like servers and network appliances.
Considering how well most Apple products from that era aged – remember, this was the era of MacOS 9, the hockey puck mouse, and neon plastic everything – it's a wonder the AirPort line was able to last for nearly two decades.
RIP, AirPort. ®
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