AirPort Express

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes, Macintosh
June 8th, 2004 • 3:54 am

If you are following the latest Mac news, you have heard by now of the release of a new Apple product called the AirPort Express.

The AirPort Express is essentially an AirPort Extreme Base Station with three ports: an Ethernet port, a USB port, and an audio port. It can be used to connect your stereo system in your living room to your wireless computer network and thereby “broadcast” the music you play with iTunes on your computer to your stereo system.

It’s definitely a good idea, and one that is long overdue. I wrote about the missing link between our computer and our home entertainment equipment a while back.

The solution proposed by Apple only solves one particular problem, however. It doesn’t do anything for TV and video. But I suppose that this will come in time.

I am not sure the “AirPort Express” moniker is the best choice. It sounds too similar to “AirPort Extreme“. Of course, we are talking about two similar products here. But one is called the “AirPort Extreme Base Station”, whereas the other one is called “AirPort Express“. In other words, “AirPort Extreme” is a technology, whereas “AirPort Express” is a product (which uses the “AirPort Extreme” technology). It’s a bit confusing.

It is also disappointing that this product only works with AirPort Extreme base stations. I have two regular AirPort Base Stations, and I would have to replace them with one AirPort Express Base Station and one AirPort Extreme — and then try to use a network that’s a mix of 802.11b (the computers) and 802.11g (the base stations) stuff.

Given Apple’s recent track record in terms of AirPort reliability, at least as far as I am concerned, I am not sure I am too keen on spending several hundred dollars on more Apple hardware in that category. I think I’m going to stick with CDs for now :).

It also sounds like Apple has more products in the pipe-line, including possibly some kind of remote control that would let you browse your music library without having to go to your computer. Interesting — but my dream of an all-in-one iServe that would act as PVR, DVD recorder, and music and video server is still a dream at this point. Oh well.

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