The release of the 2012 Airport Express (AxE) makes me want to ditch my second generation Airport Extreme Base Starion (AExBS) for several reasons including the ability to support up to 50 wi-fi clients, smaller form factor, and Airplay Support. So why would Apple make the Express almost similar or better than the Extreme? Perhaps the only reason is that the Cupertino based company is already testing 802.11 AC Gigabit Wi-Fi version and could be out late 2012 or early 2013.
Both the Express and the Extreme have the same
basic functionality, but the Express allows you to plug a speaker and use to stream music from iTunes or any iOS device via Airplay. It’s also affordable at $99, compared to the its bulkier counterpart at $179. However that $80 difference bring extra features including a USB port that can also be used for external hard drives, and faster Gigabit Ethernet whereas the Express only support printers, and includes only two 10/100BASE-T Ethernet Ports.
Unless you still use cables for internet connection or need to attach network storage device, the Airport Express is the way to go. That is if you badly need a new wi-fi router, but for upgrade reasons (AExBS to AeX), I would suggest not to upgrade yet. Knowing how Apple capitalize on “Tech Lust”, this is how they tell you to ditch your old router because the this new one is better. Then when everybody bought the 2012 AeX they will release a better AeXBS making current AeX owner upgrade to the new one. So if your current wi-fi router serves you well, there’s no reason to get the new AeX.
According to AppleInsider, Apple is working to adapt 802.11 ac this year but instead of releasing 802.11 AC AeXBS and Gigabit AC Wi-Fi enabled MacBook Pros they released the new Macbook Pro with Retina display, USB 3 in a sexier form factor. Again, they could add the new wi-fi standard, but they did’nt. Probably, they will add the AC wi-fi to the late 2012 or early 2013 iMacs and Mac Pros so and Macbooks later on. It’s also possible that 802.11 AC is still under testing/refining stage, also the current price of AC chip could be a factor.
These are just my opinion, based on Apple’s product releases and marketing strategy. If you have the means to get the new and top-of-the-line Macbook Pros, then go ahead get it. Otherwise, you can keep your old MacBooks or just get the base line 2012 Macbook Pros and sell them when the ones with 802.11 AC arrives. And, also get
the new Gigabit Wi-Fi enable Airport Extreme Base Station that will probably released with the next desktop Macs.
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