Earlier today Apple pushed a series of updates for its AirPort Utility software, as well as a firmware update for AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule.
AirPort Utility has been updated to both version 5.6 (latest one was 5.5.3) and 6.0,the latter available now as 14.3 MB download in Software Update. Whilst 5.6 is a minor update that ”resolves an issue with using network passwords stored in the Keychain” and ”works with AirPort Express 802.11g and AirPort Extreme 802.11g base stations”, AirPort Utility 6.0 is a major rewrite of the application that now resembles its iOS counterpart released in October of last year.
Above: AirPort Utility for iOS 5 on iPad. Below: the new AirPort Utility for Lion.
We’ll update this story with more details and screenshots in a few minutes. In the meantime, you can find the download links below. Apple also updated the AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule firmware, which reaches version 7.6.1 and brings the following changes:
This update is for all 802.11n AirPort Express, 802.11n AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models. It fixes an issue with wireless performance and provides support for remote access to an AirPort disk or a Time Capsule hard drive with an iCloud account.
- AirPort Utility 5.6 for Mac OS X Lion
- AirPort Utility 6.0 for Mac OS X Lion
- AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule Firmware Update 7.6.1
Apple today released AirPort Utility for iOS, an app to configure and manage AirPort devices on a local network. An early beta version of iOS 5 showed that Apple was building support for managing AirPort stations (such as the AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme) right into the operating system; however, as we noted last week the Golden Master release of iOS 5 included a link to download AirPort Utility for iOS from the App Store, which wasn’t available.
AirPort Utility requires iOS 5, which will become available publicly later today. You can install the app by clicking on “Manage This Network” on your iOS device’s WiFi settings for an AirPort station.
The app isn’t showing up in iTunes search yet, but here’s the direct link that should be available shortly: AirPort Utility
AirPort Utility provides a straightforward interface to manage AirPort devices on a local network. The app shows AirPort stations that are connected to the Internet, and on the iPad gestures are supported to zoom out the view and get a better visual of all the available devices. Tapping on the Internet icon will let you see the status of your connection with Router Address, DNS Servers and Domain Names; tapping on an AirPort Device will show a popover menu with the device’s name, IP Address, Serial Number, Software Version, Network and connected Wireless Clients. You can check out the connection status, IP Address and Hardware Address for each connected client.
Tapping the Edit button will enable you to configure various settings of an AirPort device, including File Sharing and Disks for an AirPort Extreme, DHCP and NAT, WAN Setup and Access Control. You can restart a base station from the app and restore it to default settings. You can manage the Internet Connection settings for the device, activate a Guest Network and change the WiFi Mode of an existing network. Overall, it appears the AirPort Utility app for iOS 5 has implemented much of the options available in its Mac counterpart.
More screenshots after the break. (more…)
Both TUAW and MacRumors report tonight several Apple retail store locations in the United States are running / have run out of stock for AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme stations, as well as Time Capsule units. Both reports indicate how some stores have completely run out of Time Capsule and AirPort Express / Extreme without getting any new shipments, with other locations lacking only AirPort Express stations. TUAW also hints at a store getting a notice to send all available units back.
A reader let us know that all of the Apple Stores in his area are out of AirPort Express models, and one of our sources confirmed the Apple Store in his area is out of stock on not just the Express, but the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule as well. Another source says supplies at one store are not constrained and never have been, but the store “may have” received a notice to send its AirPort device inventory back.
Supply constraints ahead of the WWDC may hint at upcoming refreshes to the various lines being announced next week, though several reports claimed the Developers Conference would be software focused with no hardware announcements. As the Apple online store still reports 24 hours shipments for AirPort devices and the family was last updated almost two years ago, Apple might as well simply take the store down sometime next week and release the new product without an on-stage announcement. Some are already speculating Apple could deploy its own home-based networking solution to interact with iCloud much like devices like the Pogoplug already allow you to access locally stored media from a remote device, though the solution sounds unlikely as it appears Apple is shooting for an all-remote, cloud-based service with streaming and storage on the company’s servers. However, the AirPort Extreme station could use an update to bring an additional USB port or more integration with iOS devices — these are some features AirPort Extreme users (including me) have been asking and wondering about a lot lately.
When Apple introduced AirPlay with iOS 4.2, they brought wireless streaming for music and video to iOS devices, as well as iTunes on the desktop thanks to the old AirTunes technology that allowed music streaming to an AirPort Express station connected to speakers with a simple audio jack. After the unification of streaming under the AirPlay name, several hacks in the past months allowed iOS and Mac users to enable streaming on unsupported devices such as iPhones or Macs. Developer James Laird, however, has achieved a different goal than simply activating audio and video receiving functionalities: by reverse engineering the AirPort Express (and thus AirTunes) private key used by Apple to stream audio to external music speakers, he released ShairPort, an open source AirPort Express emulator.
My girlfriend moved house, and her Airport Express no longer made it with her wireless access point. I figured it’d be easy to find an ApEx emulator – there are several open source apps out there to play to them. However, I was disappointed to find that Apple used a public-key crypto scheme, and there’s a private key hiding inside the ApEx. So I took it apart (I still have scars from opening the glued case!), dumped the ROM, and reverse engineered the keys out of it.
The concept behind ShairPort is very simple: instead of enabling streaming from an app to an official AirPlay device from Apple or third-party vendor, Shareport can turn any software or hardware into a wireless music receiver thanks to the cracked private key used by Apple. Being the project open source, virtually anyone could build a hardware receiver or application that streams music just like the AirPort Express station does through the AirTunes protocol.
While it’s very unlikely that manufacturers will adopt this hack to turn their devices into AirPlay receivers (why using the hack when you can just become an official AirPlay partner?), I’m sure we’ll see interesting things on the software end this week. ShairPort can be installed anywhere, opening to the possibility of gaming consoles, computers, or mobile devices gaining AirPlay functionalities previously reserved to the AirPort Express.
Go download ShairPort here. [via MacRumors]
Looks like we have another “this is just wrong” story here. If yesterday’s suicide attempt from a woman who lost her iPhone wasn’t enough, here’s what we have today on the menu: a woman who wanted to become an iPhone smuggler and tried to a) get past airport security with 44 iPhones around her body in b) typical Georgian outfit. Picture the scene. 44 iPhone 4′s below the outfit to get them into Israeli without paying taxes. Must have sounded like a good plan to the woman.
The Ben-Gurion International Airport security staff of course got suspicious over this woman who was walking slowly, asked if there were any problems and the woman replied “she was not feeling well”. Perhaps 44 iPhones are a bit too much for anyone? Anyway, security called a full body scan and surprise, they found a Cupertino treasure in there.
You know what’s missing from this curious story? A white iPhone. Just because. [Engadget via Haaretz]
Together with the Digital Camera RAW updated released a few minutes ago, Apple also updated AirPort Utility (for Mac and Windows) with a series of bug fixes. Most notably, an issue with the DHCP settings tab and the application quitting unexpectedly.
AirPort Utility 5.5.2 is available in Software Update now or on Apple’s website.