During the opening WWDC 2013 keynote, Apple announced a refresh of its AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule with support for 802.11ac. The two include 3x3:3 802.11ac with support for a PHY rate of up to 1300 Mbps and of course simultaneous 3x3:3 802.11n on 2.4 GHz (ac applies to 5 GHz only of course). From the outside, the new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule look like a taller version of the AirPort Express which was released in 2012. The reason of course is to accommodate the 6 antennas inside, 3 for 2.4 GHz and 3 for 5 GHz for optimal orthogonality for 802.11ac's new beamforming. 

It's unclear at this point what chipset is inside the new hardware, but from the feature support and I/O it's pretty safe to guess Broadcom. On the back are a USB 2.0 port for printers or attached storage, three gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, gigabit WAN, and power. There's no optical toslink or analog audio out on the back of the new hardware, that only gets included on the AirPort Express. I searched around Moscone for the new hardware but was told it wasn't out being shown off, however availability in Apple stores June 12, at $199 for the AirPort Extreme, $299 for a 2TB Time Capsule, and $399 for a 3TB Time Capsule. 

I'm curious whether the new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule are the same hardware inside, with a vacant SATA slot lurking inside.

At time of announcement Apple also noted inclusion of 802.11ac in the new MacBook Air and Mac Pro.

Source: Apple

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  • Zok - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Is this for real? Those things look HUGE!
  • Spoony - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    It is smaller than it looks. The prior model (A1408) has a footprint of around 40in2, and is 1.3in tall. The prior model Time Capsule (A1409) has a footprint of around 58in2, and is 1.4in tall. The power transformer for the Airport Extreme was external, whereas the Time Capsule transformer was internal. (Note: in favour of simplicity, I did the area calculations and then subtracted a small but arbitrary amount for the edge chamfers, it won't be accurate, but should be ballpark).

    It seems that the new Airport Extreme and Time Capsule have identical measurements to each other, with the Time Capsule weighing more. Both devices now have the transformer inboard and right at the base of the device. The upper antenna area should be mostly empty, so neither unit should be especially prone to tipping (bottom weighted). I'm not sure how high mounted the Time Capsule's HDD is, but that could change the stability dynamics a bit if it is high-middle mounted.

    The big difference here is that the footprint is down to 14in2, and the height is now 6.6in. So the new Extreme/Time Capsule are now exactly the same footprint as the current Airport Express (A1392). The new models have somewhat more volume than any of the previous units, so they are a bit larger. They aren't, as appearances would first imply, simply a 6.5x6.5in Airport Extreme extruded up to be taller.
  • tipoo - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    It looks like a photoshopped concept spoof.
  • HilbertSpace - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Typo: $199 for Airport EXTREME not Express.
  • Brian Klug - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    Derp, fixed!
  • twistedgamez - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    i am also curious to find out if there is empty space in the express, if not what is in the hdd's place?
  • Brian Klug - Monday, June 10, 2013 - link

    I seriously hope there's a slot, but until I get an FCC ID(s) with internal shots or a look at the boxes it seems hard to tell.

  • twistedgamez - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

  • nerdstalker - Saturday, June 15, 2013 - link

    Brian, looking forward to your detailed review. Your review of the previous gen was simply awesome: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4577/airport-extreme...
  • SignalPST - Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - link

    I was hoping they would've included built-in video AirPlay via HDMI, much like how the current AirPort Express has built-in audio AirPlay.

    It would be so awesome to carry only my Macbook Pro and an AirPort Extreme to do Powerpoint presentations wherever I end up traveling to, instead of having to lug AirPort+AppleTV+Macbook.

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