UPDATED: New Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule Feature Dual-Band for Better iPhone Friendliness (and MobileMe Access!)

UPDATE: MacRumors also found remote file access for MobileMe users:

Access files on a networked drive from anywhere - Allows MobileMe subscribers to register their AirPort Express Base Station or Time Capsule with their MobileMe account, providing them access to their files from anywhere via the Internet. Drives will appear in the Finder sidebar like any other attached drive, acting just like a personal file server with remote access.

ORIGINAL: It was rumor, it is now fact. Apple has released new versions of their Airport Extreme (WiFi router) and Time Capsule (WiFi router + HD) base stations, with simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi:

For maximum range and compatibility, AirPort Extreme works simultaneously on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, allowing all the devices on the network to use the most efficient band automatically. And AirPort Extreme uses the latest 802.11n wireless technology so you can enjoy up to five times the performance and up to twice the range of 802.11g wireless networks.

Think of it as having 2 lanes on your WiFi highway. While your 802.11g iPhone is out taking a Sunday drive on your network, it's no longer blocking traffic in front of your screaming fast 802.11n MacBook.

The only other new feature we could find was Guest Accounts:

Now you can set up a separate Wi-Fi network with a separate password for your visitors. Simply enable the new guest networking feature, and your guests can use the Internet but can't access other parts of your private network, such as your computers, printers, and attached hard drives.

Anyone going to upgrade? Anyone in the market for a new router going to consider one of these?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

UPDATED: New Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule Feature Dual-Band for Better iPhone Friendliness (and MobileMe Access!)


This is truly frustrating. Apple really screws over early adopters. We all spend $300-$400 on a Time Capsule and now they add features like guest networks and mobile me access and our initial investment in a up and coming product is wasted. Why does apple use its primary customer as test dummies? Same thing happened with the iPhone's initial price and model. They can't post some kind of software update for existing time capsule owners?

Andred WTF? It's called new technology. Get over it. Do you think the millions of D-Link and Linkysys users felt "screwed over when they introduced dual link routers. This is NEW HARDWARE INSIDE. Sheesh. Anyway I'm getting one to replace my existing Airport extreme Linksys combination with one device.

I understand what new technology is. D-Link and Linksys users aren't charged $300-$400 for their routers. They charge like $50 and its not breaking the bank to go update to the new model.

What's really funny is that 20 years ago, there was Bloom County cartoon strip showing a PC store cash register to buy your new Banana Jr. machine at one end of the counter, and a garbage at the other end to throw it away as already obsolete.
If they were making that joke 20 years ago, how are people still not understanding the business now?
If you bought a 2009 Volkswagen, it's knowing the 2010 model is just around the corner, right?

@ Andrew:
Actually the Linksys 610 router that offers simultaneous dual-band lists for $199 (about $170 street) and the new Apple Extreme is $179. No real price difference.
You can not compare the 1 TB Time Capsule to a Linksys Router and claim they are the same.
This update makes me very happy as I was considering the Linksys 610 for the simultaneous dual-band, NOW I can get the Time Capsule instead, gladly paying for the 1 TB model that ads wireless backups!

Apple is actually pretty good about putting the newest features into the old products. The dual band wireless most likely has different hardware, so older hardware is out of luck. The multiple guest accounts will hopefully end up in newer firmware that we'll apply to our older hardware.
Think about the 2 generations of iPhones. The 3G is faster because it has better and newer hardware. BUT, when they introduced it with version 2 of the software, that was backward compatible. I have gen 1 and my wife has gen 2. The only difference is because of the hardware.
If you want to complain about buying an outdated product, drobo is charging for firmware updates now.

Glad I got the Linksys WRT610N. No drop-outs like others are repoorting and it's the most feature-packed router ever produced (except maybe print server function, it has everything-even this guest networking feature called "AP Isolation".)

Not sure i can say anything to Andrew (mom, is that you?) that hasn't been said, but I always DREAD new Apple releases for this very reason.
The "I just bought my and Apple screwed me" posts.
Give it up.
Use what you bought and enjoy it.
If it doesn't meet your needs, sell it and upgrade.

All I want is a software update for my home Time Capsule so that I can access it easily via MobileMe. Already, I can access it using Back To My Mac but this would make it one simple step. I'd upgrade my 500GB drive to 1TB and put my media and software installation archives on it... it would help me immensely for my IT business. And MobileMe access is just a software update, another tie to the IP tracker in the Cloud... so I really, really hope that feature is part of the next firmware update. If Apple doesn't do that, THEN I think they are really screwing customers... of all the new features it is the only one I would get real use out of from my home office usage. The rest is nice and interesting but unnecessary for me.

Its funny ppl feel like andrew. every body loves apple devices the only problem is that apple tries too hard to put their new products out the door that almost every first generation of any device they sell lacks most of the stuff that's on the 2nd generation of the same product. Advice, if you like to be the earlier adopter don't complaint when a new product comes out. just wait until the second gen. you'll be happier. By the way, I do have a Linksys WRT610N. It works amazingly I cannot imagine using anything else. I have it set up with a 2Tb external Wester Digital as a time capsule. I say 2Tb's are better than one. I did not have to do any configurations. It auto configured my G4, my macbook air, my dell notebook, my gateway pc, and my xbox 360, and media center without any configuration. I did try to configure all this with the Extreme Base Station but it had too much trouble with my PC, xbox 360 media center stuff so I just bought this linksys just to try and just sat in awe watching how the 610N did everything for me, so I returned my extreme base. Ps, I got the Linksys brand new for $108 form ebay so I ended up saving like 60+ bucks.

I just purchased an AirPort Extreme 802.11n off of eBay. How can I find out whether mine is dual-band?

Andrew I have to agree with you to an extent. I fully agree with your point about the iPhone but only because it was such a drastic price drop and only two months after they first released. They didn't change any features just replace the 4GB with 16GB and drop the price by $200.
I don't agree with your argument about the AirPort Extreme. It has been out for a while and an update was not needed, but was a great thing. They changed it quite a lot and because it has been a while since its initial release a price drop would have even been alright.
I just purchased a brand new, in-the-box AirPort Extreme on eBay for $110 shipped!

Fair point. Leveraging YouTube (and its brand) would make sense. Bottom line is they need to simply show up with a enough of a product that, as Android expands, can be as tightly-woven as possible into the UI.