Thomas Brand of Egg Freckles thinking out loud about Apple’s latest AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule.
In the era of Post-PC computing I would like to see an AirPort Extreme of Time Capsule that do more than just desktop backup and wireless networking. A central household cache for iTunes streaming, App Store downloads, and iCloud backups would be a great start. Maybe next year we will see another vertically oriented white box that does just that.
When iCloud Backups became a thing that we started seeing on rumor blogs, I remember quite a few of us positing that our AirPort devices would become an important piece in that equation. We were wrong, but it’s not hard to imagine an iPhone or iPad syncing to a Time Capsule in the same manner that our Macs do with scheduled Time Machine backups.
You can come close to a proposed solution like this today. Take any old USB hard drive, copy your iTunes data to it, plug it in your AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule, and you’re off to the races. Although loading an iTunes library over a network is so slow there’s really no benefit.
The big con in doing any of this of course is what happens when the hard drive in that Time Capsule dies. If all of your music and mobile backups are on this thing you’re suddenly hosed unless Apple has some cloud storage or RAID solution in mind. This is why I think our Macs and iTunes continues to be the gateway for syncing and backing up our iOS devices — data is at least redundantly stored on both your Mac and Time Capsule.
Although Apple claims the vertical departure from the previous AirPort Extreme’s six-year-old design was choosen for better reception, I tend to think it was a cost cutting measure. The new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule share the same enclosure along designed around the same 3.5 inch hard drive. The added price of the Time Capsule gets you nothing more than said drive, and the cables needed to connect it. Saving Apple millions on duplicate parts.
I forgot who said it, but the theory I like the most is that the new AirPort Extreme design keeps people from stacking crap on top it.