Most of you have read the first full-fledged reports of the 802.11n variant of Apple's AirPort Extreme. I just got one a few days ago, and I'd love to give you some performance ratings, except for the fact that I do not as yet have a Mac with 802.11n hardware. That will happen soon, but I think I have enough to say about Apple's new base station to write an interim report.
The preliminaries are fairly simple: Apple has ditched the saucer-shaped motif in favor of something simpler and elegant. At first glance, the squared-off AirPort Extreme strikes you as half a Mac mini, similar to the Apple TV. Compared to the ugly and sometimes grotesque aspect of most routers, Apple's base station stands out.
As with anything that bears the Apple label, every element of the new-user experience is carefully thought out. The box is small, no doubt as a result of concerns for the environment, and the components are well protected against possible shipping damage. A tiny setup booklet, warranty information and a software CD come neatly packaged. As the product label says, the new AirPort extreme works on both a Mac and a PC, and the accompanying software delivers a similar operational experience for both. Of course, the Windows version provides an interface typical of that operating system, but Apple has always been able to teach Microsoft a thing or two (or three) about setup simplicity.
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